Articles Posted in Kinship

When a person dies intestate (without a Last Will), his estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 4-1.1 entitled “Descent and distribution of a decedent’s estate” , provides the statutory list of distributees entitled to receive a distributive estate share.

In order to receive a share, a potential heir must be able to demonstrate his relationship to the decedent. In many cases where the heirs at law are uncertain, the Surrogate’s Court will require a Kinship Hearing before it allows the distribution of the estate funds. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has posted many articles regarding Kinship proceedings and intestate distribution. Continue reading

The settlement of an estate in New York invariably involves the kinship of a decedent. Whether the proceeding concerns the probate of a Last Will or an intestate administration, the Court requires full and specific information regarding the decedent’s next of kin (known as “distributees”).

In a probate case, the decedent’s distributees must be identified and given notice of the probate proceeding because these individuals have a right to contest the Will. Where a person dies intestate (without a Will) the statutes provide that the individuals who are entitled to serve as the estate Administrator and also inherit the estate are the decedent’s distributees. Continue reading

It is important to know that when a person dies intestate (without a Last Will), his estate is distributed to his closest next of kin. Additionally, these persons, known under the statute as distributees, have the right to be appointed as the Administrator of the estate.

Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) Section 1001 entitled “Order of priority for granting letters of administration”, sets forth the persons who have the right to be appointed. The list begins with the decedent’s surviving spouse, then his children, then grandchildren and continues with relatives of more distant connection. Continue reading

A recent column by Cindy Adams in New York Post on October 16, 2017 discusses the death of entertainer, Jerry Lewis and a person named Suzan who claims to be his illegitimate child. According to the article, Lewis never acknowledged Suzan as his child. Lewis also made no provision for her in his Last Will when he died in August 2017.

If Lewis had been a New York domiciliary, Suzan would have had to make a claim of paternity in the Surrogate’s Court proceedings where Lewis’ Will was offered for probate. As a distributee or next of kin of Lewis, Suzan then would have had a right to contest Lewis’ Will. However, since Suzan’s kinship status was in doubt, the probate court would have first been required to determine if she had standing to file Objections to the Will. Continue reading

When a Last Will is offered for probate, the Court needs to be provided with an array of additional information. One of the most important areas that the Court needs to know about is the identity of the decedent’s next of kin. These individuals are known as distributees. The Surrogate’s Court requires a complete list of distributees since these individuals must be provided with notice regarding the probate filing.

The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles regarding the probate of a Will and the notification of next of kin. The reason these persons must be notified is due to the fact that if the Will is found to be invalid, the decedent’s distributees would inherit the estate. Without a valid Will, the estate would be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. When a decedent’s distributees feel that a Will is not valid, they have a right to Object to the Will. These Objections result in a Will Contest and estate litigation in the Surrogate’s Court. Continue reading

One of the most important aspects when administering an estate is establishing the identity of a decedent’s next of kin. The persons comprising next of kin or heirs are commonly referred to in New York as “distributees”. Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) Section 103(14) defines a distributee as a person who would be entitled to receive part of a decedent’s property pursuant to the statutes regarding “descent and distribution”.

The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published numerous posts regarding kinship. In a probate proceeding, distributees of a decedent must be ascertained and provided notice regarding the probate of the Last Will. This is because the distributees must be given the opportunity to Contest the Will. Continue reading

When a person dies without a Last Will and Testament he is said have died intestate. Since there is no Will which provides for distribution of the estate assets, the decedent’s estate is distributed according to the intestacy laws. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 4-1.1 entitled “Descent and distribution of a decedent’s estate”, provides the list of priority of persons who have a right to inherit the intestate estate. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles concerning the estates of persons who die without a Will.

The fiduciary who is authorized to handle such an estate is known as an Administrator. In order to have an Administrator appointed for an estate, a petition for letters of administration is filed with the Surrogate’s Court. One of the items that must be provided in the petition is the name and address of all of the decedent’s distributees. These are the individuals who have the right to receive a share of the estate. Continue reading

Surrogate’s Court cases in New York are identified by a number of different proceedings.  There are, for example, probate proceedings and intestate administration proceedings.   There are also accounting proceedings in which the estate administrator and executor provides an account of his transactions to the interested parties who can approve or object to the account.

All of these types of cases require that interested parties be notified so that they can protect their interests. For example, in a probate case, the decedent’s distributees (next of kin) must be notified so that they have an opportunity to file objections to a Will. In an administration proceeding, the decedent’s next of kin need to be identified since they are entitled to share in the estate distribution. Continue reading

The identity of a decedent’s heirs at law are an essential element in all probate and intestate administration cases.   There have been numerous posts in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog that examine this issue.  When a Last Will is offered for probate, the person petitioning for the Will’s admission to probate must provide the Court with the names and addresses of the decedent’s distributees (i.e., next of kin).  Distributees require notice of the proceeding because they have a right to object to the Will.

A New York City Estate Attorney typically obtains kinship information from a person when they are preparing an estate plan and Last Will.    This information can sometimes  be invaluable when preparing the probate papers.  It is possible that there are no family members or friends who may have complete family tree information.  If the probate petitioner cannot provide the information on distributees a due diligent search must be made for the next of kin.  This search may require that services of professional investigators such as genealogists be obtained.   Also, the Court may require that a Court Citation be directed to all unknown distributees.  The Citation must be published in a local newspaper. Continue reading

Kinship disputes are very common in New York estate cases. When a person dies his estate typically can be settled in one of two ways. If the decedent left a Last Will, the Will is offered for probate in the Surrogate’s Court.

In the event the decedent dies intestate (without a Will) then a petition for Letters of Administration is presented to the Court. An Executor or Administrator is appointed depending upon the type of Court proceeding. Continue reading

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