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Is There a Time Limit or Statute of Limitations for Claiming an Inheritance in New York?

There are some deadlines when it comes to claiming an inheritance in New York. There is no formal time limit for claiming an inheritance in New York. However, you should be mindful of the following statutes of limitations: the six-year deadline for challenging an account of the estate, the three-year deadline for making a claim against an executor for theft from the estate, and the first-hearing deadline for objecting to the will.

The court will still look into the situation and will examine the reasons for the late filing. If the court’s suspicions are confirmed, the court may deny the inheritance.

A late claim on a New York estate may have some additional issues, which are:

  • Is there a valid reason for the late filing? – if the filing takes place more then six months after the death, the court will require an affidavit explaining why it took so long to file for the inheritance. The court may also make an additional inquiry into the circumstances of the late filing.
  • The more time, the more suspicion – The New York courts are more skeptical if the claim was not made for several years.
  • What is the degree of relationship? – The further the relationship, the more skeptical the court is going to be of the claimant’s excuse for the late filing.
  • Claims can get stale – someone owes the estate money, the estate will not be able to sue them if the Statute of Limitations has expired. The statute of limitations for claims against an estate can range from 2 to 6 years from the date of the occurrence of the claim, depending on the type of case. Some cases have an even shorter statute of limitations.
  • Is there anything left in the estate? – this is an important practical consideration. If someone has had access to the estate assets for the years they were not claimed, likely, whoever took the asset has spent them years ago, and the estate is exhausted. So even if there is a valid claim, collecting it will be a problem.

As late-filed inheritance claims are subject to higher scrutiny by the court, the claim must be carefully thought out and prepared. Our firm will be glad to be of assistance. You can reach us, the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, at (212) 233-1233.