New York Intestate Laws

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Life can change without notice — from unthinkable accidents to life-threatening medical conditions diagnosed on short notice; we can never be truly prepared for what each new day will bring.

For individuals who want to ensure that their wishes are fulfilled after their passing, it’s essential to have an estate plan in place. New York’s intestate laws are activated when an estate plan is not in place.

What is Intestate?

When a person dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to intestate laws.

In New York, the following intestate laws are in place:

  • Spouse and no descendants — spouse inherits all assets
  • Descendants and no spouse — descendants inherit all assets
  • Spouse and descendants — spouse inherits the first $50,000 of intestate property, all other assets are divided equally between the spouse and descendants
  • Parents and no spouse or descendants — parents inherit all assets
  • Siblings but no parents, spouse, or descendants — siblings inherit all assets

Who is Considered a Descendant?

A descendant can be someone other than a person’s child. A descendant can also be an individual’s:

  • Legally adopted child;
  • Stepchildren;
  • Posthumous children (children born after a person’s death in they were in utero within two years of the deceased’s passing);
  • Child outside of the deceased’s marriage (if applicable); and,
  • Grandchildren.

How Intestate Can Be Avoided

Working with an established estate planning attorney is the best way to avoid intestate laws from impacting your loved ones. The team at Adler Law can help you prepare an estate plan that best fulfills your wishes. Whether you are interested in a will, trust, or combination of documents, our dedicated team will design a plan to give you peace of mind.

Contact our New York estate planning office online or by phone. (516) 740-1184

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