Estate Administration / Intestate

Administration and Intestacy – Deceased Died without a Will or Trust

If your loved one died without a valid will or trust in place, any property in the estate is distributed according to New York’s “intestacy” laws, which dictate who is entitled to the property, and how much they are entitled to receive. We can represent you in an Administration or Intestacy proceeding, so that you can be appointed Administrator and collect known assets and distribute according to statutory requirements.
It is called an “Administration” process.

  • We will commence the legal proceedings to obtain your appointment or file the necessary papers to obtain your share of the Estate.
  • We will walk you through the process and complete all the documents including filing an Administration Petition, serve all interested parties, attend at court hearings, assist in the collection and search of all assets, determine which debts and liabilities need to be paid and file closing documents with the Surrogates Court, as needed.

However, only assets that would have been distributed through a will are subject to intestacy laws. Things like property transferred via a trust, life insurance payouts, or a co-owned asset are excluded from intestate succession proceedings.

  • Determining who gets what after a loved one passes away without a will is incredibly complicated in Brooklyn, New York. The distribution of assets can be broken down by what types of surviving relatives are left behind.

When a person dies without leaving a Last Will and Testament, it’s said that they died intestate. When a person dies intestate, that person’s property is distributed according to the law. In New York, that law is found in EPTL 4-1.1. The family members who are entitled to a share of the Decedent’s estate when there is no will are called “distributees”.

In the simplest terms:

If the Decedent has…then
a spouse (husband or wife) and no childrenthe spouse inherits everything
children* but no spousechildren 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 parentsthe 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 About Decedent’s Children

For children to inherit from their parents, New York State requires that there is legal parent-child relationship. In most cases this is not an issue but it’s not always clear.

  • Adopted children will inherit just like a biological child.
  • Foster children and stepchildren will not inherit unless they were legally adopted.
  • Children born after the Decedent dies will inherit.
  • Children born outside of marriage, also called non-marital child, will inherit from a male Decedent if paternity is established
  • Grandchildren will inherit only if their parent (the Decedent’s child) dies before the Decedent died.

If the Decedent has no family at all, then the property will go to New York State. The Administration Process is extremely complicated in Brooklyn, New York. The Surrogates Court requires notice or waivers by certain required relatives.

If you require professional legal services regarding Intestate and Administration issues, in enforcing and protecting your legal rights by seeking the legal advice of an experienced Brooklyn Estate Administration attorney Contact Michael F. Kanzer, Attorney at Law by calling 718-769-7200 or by using our online submission form.

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