Intestate distribution in New York refers to the process of distributing a deceased person’s assets when they pass away without leaving behind a valid will. In such cases, the state’s intestacy laws determine who inherits the deceased person’s property and assets, and in what proportion. Intestate distribution can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it is important to understand the relevant laws and regulations in New York to ensure that the distribution is carried out fairly and efficiently. This Eastcoastlaws.com article will provide an overview of intestate distribution in New York, including the state’s intestacy laws, the role of the executor, and the distribution of assets among heirs. It will also cover some common misconceptions about intestacy, and highlight the importance of creating a valid will to ensure that one’s assets are distributed according to their wishes after their death.
What are the intestacy rules in New York?
Intestacy rules refer to the legal guidelines that govern the distribution of an individual’s assets in the absence of a will or trust. In New York, these rules are primarily governed by the Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law (EPTL).
If a person dies without leaving behind a will, their assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules. In New York, the rules dictate that the spouse and children of the deceased will inherit the estate, with the exact distribution depending on the number of surviving family members.
If the deceased had a surviving spouse but no children or parents, the spouse will inherit the entire estate. If the deceased had a spouse and children, the spouse will inherit the first $50,000 of the estate and 50% of the remaining estate. The remaining 50% will be split equally among the children.
If the deceased had no spouse or children, the estate will be distributed among the parents of the deceased, if they are still alive. If the parents are not alive, the estate will be divided equally among the deceased’s siblings. If any siblings are deceased, their children will inherit their share of the estate.
If the deceased had no surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, or nieces or nephews, the estate will be passed on to more distant relatives in the following order: grandparents, aunts and uncles, and finally, cousins.
It’s important to note that these rules only apply to assets that would have passed through the deceased’s will, such as personal property, bank accounts, and investments. Assets that are jointly held with another person, such as a home or joint bank account, will automatically pass to the surviving joint owner.
In conclusion, the intestacy rules in New York can be complex and depend on the specific family situation of the deceased. Therefore, it’s recommended that individuals create a will to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.
Which Assets Pass by Intestate Succession
Intestate succession laws only apply to assets that pass through probate. As many priceless assets are not subject to the probate process, intestate succession laws are not applicable. These are a few instances:
- the property you’ve transferred to a living trust
- life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary
- funds in an IRA, 401(k), or another retirement account with a named beneficiary
- securities held in a transfer-on-death account
- real estate for which you have a transfer on the death deed
- vehicles for which you have a transfer on death registration
- payable-on-death bank accounts, or
- the property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.
Whether or whether you have a will, the surviving co-owner or the beneficiary you choose will receive these assets. The property can end up being transmitted in accordance with intestate succession if you don’t have a will and none of the named beneficiaries are still living to receive it.
Intestate Distribution In New York
It is referred to as dying intestate when a person passes away without leaving a Last Will and Testament. When someone passes away intestate, their assets are divided in accordance with the law. The living relatives’ relationships to the deceased, or “Decedent,” will determine who receives what. “Distributees” are the family members who are qualified to receive a portion of the deceased person’s estate in the absence of a will.
In the simplest terms:
|If the Decedent has…
|a spouse (husband or wife) and no children
|the spouse inherits everything
|children* but no spouse
|children inherit everything
|spouse and children*
|the spouse inherits the first $50,000 plus half of the balance. The children* inherit everything else.
|parents but no spouse and no children*
|the parents inherit everything
|siblings (brothers or sisters) but no spouse, children*, or parents
|the siblings inherit everything
|* If a child dies before the Decedent and had children of their own, then the Decedent would have grandchildren. Those grandchildren would step into the Decedent’s child’s place and inherit in place of the child.
What Will The Spouse Get In New York Intestate?
If a person dies without a will in New York, the spouse will receive a portion of the estate depending on whether the deceased had children, parents, or siblings. The exact amount that the spouse will receive is determined by the intestacy laws of New York.
If the deceased had no children, parents, or siblings, the spouse will inherit the entire estate. If the deceased had children, the spouse will inherit the first $50,000 of the estate, plus 50% of the remaining estate. The children will split the remaining 50% of the estate equally among them.
If the deceased had no children but had parents or siblings, the spouse will inherit the first $50,000 of the estate, plus one-half of the remaining estate. The other half of the estate will be divided among the deceased’s parents or siblings as provided by the intestacy laws.
If the deceased had children and parents or siblings, the spouse will inherit the first $50,000 of the estate, plus one-third of the remaining estate. The other two-thirds of the estate will be divided among the children.
It’s important to note that the spouse will not receive any portion of the estate if the marriage was void or annulled, or if the spouse abandoned or neglected the deceased.
It’s recommended that individuals create a will to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes, as intestacy laws can be complex and may not align with their wishes.
What Will The Children Get In New York Intestate?
In New York, if you pass away without leaving a will, your children will inherit a “intestate share” of your assets. Whether or not you’re married and how many kids you have will determine how much each child receives. (Refer to the table up top.)
The state of New York must legally recognize children as your children in order for them to inherit from you under the statutes of intestacy. This is not a complex problem for many families. But sometimes it’s unclear. Consider the following points.
- Adopted children. Children you legally adopted will receive an intestate share, just as your biological children do. New York Con. Laws § 7-4.117.
- Foster children and stepchildren. Foster children and stepchildren you never legally adopted will not automatically receive a share.
- Children placed for adoption. Children you placed for adoption and who were legally adopted by another family will not receive a share. However, if your biological children were adopted by your spouse, that won’t affect their intestate inheritance. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 1-2.16.
- Posthumous children. Children conceived by you but not born before your death will receive a share if the child was in utero within two years of your death or born within three years of it. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.3.
- Children born outside of marriage. If you were not married to your children’s mother when she gave birth to them, they will receive a share of your estate if (1) you and the child’s mother signed an acknowledgment of paternity and filed it where your child’s birth certificate is registered, (2) you signed a document acknowledging paternity; you openly acknowledged the child as your own; (4) or a court has determined your paternity. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.2.
- Children born through artificial insemination. Your child born through artificial insemination will receive a share of your estate if you consented to the use of your genetic material to be used after your death and this consent was made within seven years of your death. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.3.
- Grandchildren. A grandchild will receive a share only if that grandchild’s parent (your son or daughter) is not alive to receive his or her share. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 1-2.16.
If you want to read the law, New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.2 covers parent-child relationships.
Will The State Get Your Property?
If a person dies without a will in New York and has no surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, or other living relatives, the state will become the legal beneficiary of their property. However, it is important to note that this is a rare occurrence, as there are typically at least some living relatives who will inherit the estate under New York intestacy laws.
If the state becomes the beneficiary of a person’s property, the assets will be turned over to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, which will hold the property for three years. During this time, anyone who believes they have a claim to the property can come forward and make a claim.
After three years, if no one has made a claim to the property, it will be transferred to the New York State Office of Unclaimed Funds. The Office of Unclaimed Funds will then attempt to locate any living relatives of the deceased and transfer the property to them.
If no living relatives can be found, the Office of Unclaimed Funds will hold the property indefinitely until a rightful heir can be identified. In some cases, if no heirs can be found, the property may be sold and the proceeds deposited into the state’s general fund.
It’s important to note that the state becoming the beneficiary of a person’s property is rare and can be avoided by creating a valid will or trust. By doing so, individuals can ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes and avoid the complicated and potentially lengthy process of intestate succession.
Who Can File An Estate Proceeding
If there is a Will, the Executor designated in the Will submits a small estate or a request for probate to the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the Decedent resided most of the time. f there is no Will, then there is a rule for who can file for administration or a small estate. In general, the “closest distributee” can file for administration or small estate. This means that the Decedent’s husband or wife has a prior right over the Decedent’s children to file. But if the Decedent didn’t have a living husband or wife, then the Decedent’s children have equal rights to each other. If the relative with the prior right does not want to administer the estate, then they can sign a renunciation and waiver. In the same way, if relatives have equal rights (such as a Decedent’s son and daughter) in an administrative proceeding, then the Decedent’s children sign waivers. This does not mean that they are giving up their share of the Decedent’s estate.
What Are the Consequences of Dying Without A Will In New York?
While it is simple to see why a 20-year-old doesn’t have a will, it is more difficult for someone in their 50s or 60s to grasp why more than half of American adults do not have wills. Maybe it’s because some people don’t think they have enough property to need a will. Is it merely avoidance because they have no immediate plans to pass away? Is there a superstitious notion that writing a will could hasten demise? Almost never is the reason for dying intestate (i.e., without a will) adequate to explain the result. A will is, at its most basic level, a list of directives that outline the testator’s final wishes. It is also one of a number of documents that, when put all together, form an estate plan that aims to reduce estate taxes and guarantee an equitable transfer of assets after the death of a testator. A guardian is also named in a will if there are minor children.
Other Intestate Distribution Rules In New York
Here are a few other things to know about New York’s intestacy laws.
- Half-relatives. “Half” relatives inherit as if they were “whole.” That is, your sister with whom you share a father, but not a mother, has the same right to your property as she would if you had both parents in common. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.1.
- Posthumous relatives. Relatives conceived before — but born after — you die to inherit as if they had been born while you were alive. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.1.
- Immigration status. Relatives entitled to an intestate share of your property will inherit whether or not they are citizens or legally in the United States.
- Joint tenant convicted of murder. One joint tenant who is convicted of murdering another joint tenant is not entitled to inherit any money in the joint tenant’s bank account. The convicted joint tenant is entitled only to any money that the convicted joint tenant contributed to the account. New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Law § 4-1.6.