Dying Without a New York Will

If you die without a New York Will, the state intestacy rules govern how your property is distributed. The portions depend on the family members that survive you.

How much does my spouse get?

  • If you have no issue (children or grandchildren) – the whole estate;
  • If you left issue – $50,000 plus ½ of the balance. Your issue share the residue by representation (which means if a child has predeceased you, that child’s share will go to his/her children).

Who receives the residue?

If you don’t have a spouse and you end up dying without a New York Will, your estate is distributed in the following order of priority:

  • First to your issue by representation (see above for what this means);
  • Your parent or parents (some exceptions apply for example where your parent has abandoned or failed or refused to provide for you whilst you were under 21);
  • Your parent’s issue by representation;
  • Your grandparent or grandparents or their issue by representation (not more remote than grandchildren of your grandparents);
  • Your grandparent’s great-grandchildren per capita.  § 4-1.1
  • If there is no heir entitled to receive, your property passes to the state of New York as abandoned property. § 4-1.5

Examples of New York Intestate Cases

The intestacy succession law can be very confusing. To illustrate how the law works in common situations where a resident dies without a New York Will, here are some case studies:

  1. Tony passes away without a Will. He had two children with his wife Karen. His estate is worth $400,000. Who gets what? Karen gets $225,000 and each child receives $87,500.
  2. Erik died leaving an estate of $400,000. He had no will. He had two children to his wife Jodi. Erik also has a child from a former partner. Who gets what? Jodi receives $225,000, Jodie’s children receive $58,333 each and Erik’s former partners child also receives $58,333.
  3. Brook died leaving $400,000. She had no will. She has two children to her husband Pete. Pete also has a child from a former partner. Who gets what? Pete gets $225,000, Pete & Brook’s 2 children receive $87,500 each and Pete’s child from former partner receives nothing.
  4. Daren died without a will. His estate is worth $300,000. He had 3 children with his wife (predeceased). Two of their children have already died, leaving a granddaughter from on child and two grandsons from the deceased child. Who gets what? Surviving child gets $100,000 (1/3), granddaughter (single child) gets $100,000 (1/3) and grandsons (brothers) get $50,000 each (1/3).

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