In a previous article, we emphasized the importance of writing a “Last Will and Testament” and how a will helps protect your loved ones and allows you to determine what happens to your property after you pass. Under New York Law, when a person dies without a will, the Rules on Intestate Succession (§§ 4-1.1 – 4-1.6) govern the properties and affairs of the decedent. A will is essential for most individuals.
Distribution of Property Without a Will in New York
The property of the person who dies without a will is distributed depending on who are the heirs that are still alive at the time of the decedent’s death. Under New York’s Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT) § 4-1.1, the distribution of property vest according to the following:
- Spouse and Children are Alive: The spouse shall receive USD 50,000.00 plus 1/2 of the property of the deceased, while the children shall receive and divide among themselves the remaining property.
- Spouse is Alive but no Living Children: The surviving spouse shall receive the whole property of the deceased spouse.
- Children are Alive but no Living Spouse: The children shall receive the whole property and divide it among themselves equally.
- One or Both Parents are Alive, but no Spouse nor Children: The surviving parent(s) shall receive the whole property of the deceased and divide it equally.
- Siblings are Alive but no Parent, Spouse nor Children: The siblings shall receive and divide equally among themselves the property of the deceased equally.
- Grandchildren are Alive and No Children Alive etc.: The grandchildren shall receive and divide equally among themselves the property of the deceased.
The above distributions are just a few examples of how the properties shall be divided depending on who among the family members or relatives of the deceased are alive at the time of the decedent’s death. The great-grandchildren, grandparents, nephews, nieces, cousins, uncles, or aunts are, also, heirs entitled to receive the property of the deceased via New York’s Intestate Succession Law.
Spare your Family from Strife and Fighting
We shall never get weary of reminding readers of this blog that passing without a will is a recipe for a disaster. As we’ve mentioned before, we’ve seen many families torn apart by fighting over the property because each one of the heirs has their own beliefs on how the deceased wanted his/her property divided. So please spare your family from strife and fighting. There is no way for anyone to know what you truly wanted unless you write a “Last Will and Testament” and make a clear declaration on how you want your affairs and properties handled.
If you want to know more about New York’s Intestate Succession or you want us to assist you in writing your Last Will and Testament, please: Schedule a Call with a New York Lawyer.
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