Intestate probate occurs if someone dies without a will and intestacy laws must be used in order to determine what happens to that deceased person’s assets. Intestacy laws apply if there was no estate planning done to ensure that a deceased person has control over how his or her assets will transfer.
If your loved on has passed away with no will, it is helpful for you to understand New York intestacy laws so you can determine what is likely to happen to the assets left behind. If you are considering whether estate planning is worth it for you to engage in or not, you also want to understand how intestacy laws would dictate where your money and property go.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide you with help in determining what intestacy laws are, whether they will apply to your situation, and what steps you can take to make sure you have control over how your own wealth is distributed after your death.
When Does Intestate Probate Occur?
Intestacy laws will apply in probate if the deceased didn’t create a valid will. If a will is challenged and found to have problems, such as not being legally valid under New York’s requirements or being prepared when the deceased was not of sound mind, then intestacy laws may also apply.
The laws of intestate succession will determine the process by which many or all of the deceased person’s assets will transfer. However, assets that don’t transfer through probate are not going to be distributed under intestacy laws. Instead, they will be transferred to their new owners as appropriate based on the type and structure of ownership. For example, if a trust was created, the trust administration process will facilitate the transfer of trust assets to beneficiaries. If the deceased had pay-on-death accounts, assets will go to those who were named in the accounts. Life insurance policies will also be paid to designated beneficiaries.
Intestate succession laws, therefore, will dictate only what happens to the assets that are transferred through the traditional probate process and which the deceased would normally have provided instructions for in his last will and testament.
Who Inherits in Intestate Probate Proceedings?
During intestate probate, when intestacy laws apply to determine who inherits, the distribution of the deceased person’s property will differ depending upon who the surviving relatives are. The New York State Unified Court System provides a summary of who inherits property when there is no will in place.
According to the intestacy laws in New York, a spouse will inherit all of a deceased person’s property if the deceased person (called the “decedent”) did not have any children. If the decedent had kids but no surviving spouse, on the other hand, the children will inherit everything.
If the decedent has a spouse and has children, then the surviving spouse would inherit the first $50,000 in assets and would also inherit half of the additional balance of the estate. The children would inherit the other half of the estate. If any one of the decedent’s children had pre-deceased him, then the grandchildren of the decedent could inherit that parent’s share.
If a decedent does not have a spouse and does not have children, but does have surviving parents, then the parents would inherit all of the deceased person’s assets. If the deceased has no parents, spouse, or children, then siblings can inherit. The laws will continue to try to give assets to the closest living relatives, unless there are absolutely no relatives and the money goes to the state.
These intestacy rules may not result in a deceased person’s money being distributed in the way that he or she would have wanted. In order to make sure that you have control over your own legacy, and to potentially avoid a much more costly probate process, it is important to take steps to make a comprehensive estate plan before it is too late.
Getting Help from A Long Island Probate Attorney
A Long Island probate attorney can provide you with invaluable help avoiding intestate probate by making a comprehensive estate plan. Our legal team can also assist you if your loved one has died and you are going through the probate process, either with or without a will.
To find out more about the importance of estate planning to protect your legacy and express your wishes after death, you can join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team to learn more.