New York Intestate Succession
Most people are largely unfamiliar with Probate or Estate Planning, until they begin to plan their own estate or are called upon to handle the estate of a loved one who has recently passed. While there are many documents that are involved in an estate matter, one of the key documents is the Last Will and Testament. This document is written by the testator and names a person (executor) to handle their estate after their death. The document will set out instructions as to how the testator wants their estate handled, and who will be the heirs or beneficiaries to the estate. But what happens if you or your loved one passes away without a will? Or perhaps there is a will, but only portions of it are enforceable? If you are encountering this problem it is important to contact a New York Estate Lawyer, who can explain what to expect and help you navigate through this issue.
Normally, when someone passes away the will, amongst many other documents will be submitted to the Probate or Surrogates court. The court will authenticate the documents, issue letters testamentary and appoint an executor. The executor will perform accountings; maintain assets which will eventually be distributed to the heirs. The Last Will and Testament guides the court and the executor in how they proceed with handling the estate.
If the decedent dies without a will, the court does not have the decedent’s wishes to refer to, so it is forced to follow laws that have been established for this purpose, which are called the laws of Intestate Succession. These laws are structured to be in accordance with what the average person would want. Unfortunately, often times the result of this is much different from what the testator would actually have intended. Note that it is not enough that someone knows what the decedent wanted, the estate will still need to be distributed pursuant Intestate Succession.
In the state of New York the order of distribution is:
- Surviving spouse;
- Parent or parents equally;
- Siblings or half siblings;
- Aunts and Uncles;
- Grandchildren of deceased grandparents;
- Great grandchildren;
- State of New York.
If a loved one has died intestacy, and are not sure how to proceed, contact a New York Probate Lawyer to assist you. Probate laws are ever changing and complex. It is important to seek legal advice to ensure that the estate is handled properly. Or perhaps you are involved in an Estate Litigation matter, Conservatorship, or need a Will & Trust, Advanced Health Care Directive, or other estate planning document. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC. We are available to assist you with any Estate Planning concerns you may have. We will offer you advice and a free consultation. Call us today at 800.696.9529. Where ever you are in New York we have an office near you, from Westchester County to Long Island and Brooklyn.