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What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

A person who dies without a valid will is said to have died intestate. Under New York intestacy laws, property is distributed in the following order:

1- Spouse and Children (first $50,000 and ½ of residue to spouse, remaining to children)
2- Spouse and No Children (entirely to spouse)
3- Children and No Spouse (whole to children)
4- One or both parents, No Spouse or Children (whole to parent or parents)
5- Children of Parents, No Spouse, Children, or Parent (whole to children of parent)
6- One or more grandparents or Children of Grandparents, No Spouse, Children, Parent or Children of Parents (1/2 to surviving paternal grandparents (or their children if grandparent is deceased) and ½ to surviving maternal grandparents (or their children if grandparent is deceased)
7- Great grandchildren of grandparents, No Spouse, Children, Parent, Children of Parents, Grandparents, Children of Grandparents or Grandchildren of Grandparents (1/2 to the great grandchildren of the paternal grandparents and ½ to the great grandchildren of the maternal grandparents)

Having your property pass by intestacy may not reflect how you want your property to be distributed. Speaking with an experienced estate attorney is crucial to ensure your property is distributed the way you choose—not the way state mandates.

When you die intestate there is no will and therefore there is no probate process. Instead your estate goes through administration. A family member or friend must petition for administration to take care of your estate and perform many of the duties an executor performs. The role of administrator is complex as well and requires the aid of an experienced estate attorney.

If your loved one died without a will or to avoid dying without a will, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (212) 233-1233.