Estate litigation over relationship to the decedent is referred to as a “kinship proceedings.” Kinship proceedings can arise when a person dies without clear instructions on which specific persons benefit from their estate. This occurs when a person dies without a New York will (intestate) or when the New York will is unclear. If that happens, persons may prove that they related to the decedent in a way that entitles them to a portion of the estate. Needless to say, disagreements sometimes arise.
A common situation where a kinship proceeding arises is when someone leaves property to “my children” without specifying who those children are. This ambiguous designation leaves room for a dispute over who the decedent’s children actually are. The status of an existing child can be challenged. Or, a person previously unknown to the decedent’s family may claim to be the decedent’s child.
Kinship is a difficult aspect of estate litigation, as it presents many disputed facts and circumstances. Information about previous generations, unknown persons, or foreign subjects is often difficult to process and obtain. An experienced estate attorney is crucial to a successful outcome of such cases.
Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233 and make an appointment to discuss your kinship situation.