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Aunt Inheritance Laws: An Overview

Aunt inheritance laws endow you with certain rights to your aunt’s inheritance. However, your rights are lower priority than those of your aunt’s more immediate family members. As set forth in the laws of the state of New York, you have no rights to your aunt’s inheritance if your aunt had a living spouse, descendants or parents at the time of her death. Even if you are the closest living relative, you may also have very limited rights if your aunt left you out of her will.

Will I inherit if my aunt did not have a will? If your aunt did not have a will, then you will inherit only if you are “the closest living relative” – only if your aunt died with no living spouse, descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc.) and parents.

Do I have to be notified if my aunt died? If your aunt had a will, then aunt inheritance laws state that you will have the right to be notified of the will and the hearing date when the will is presented before the court.

What can I do if I am not named in my aunt’s will? If you were not named in your aunt’s will, then you have the right to contest the will. You can win a will contest if you can prove that your aunt either did not have the mental capacity to make a will, was unduly influenced into making the will or the will was not made correctly.

Can I inherit from step-aunt? You cannot inherit from a step-aunt. Only if you were adopted by the aunt’s sibling, in which case they would be considered an aunt.

Do all nieces and nephews inherit equally? According to aunt inheritance laws, nieces and nephews inherit by sharing the inheritance share of the aunt’s siblings.

Will I be in charge of my aunt’s estate? If you are the closest living relative (your aunt does not have a living spouse, descendants or parents) or you are named as the executor in your aunt’s will, then you can be named the executor or administrator of her estate.

Can I inherit from my aunt if her marriage was invalid? A legal marriage is assumed to be valid unless you can prove otherwise, even your aunt was separate from her spouse or was in the process of divorce. But if you can prove to the court that your aunt’s spouse abandoned them, then you will be able to set aside the spouse’s share and will be able to inherit from your aunt. To be valid for inheritance purposes, the marriage has to be a legal marriage. Common-law marriage is not valid in New York, but may be valid in a different state.

What should I do if I need an estate and probate lawyer for my aunt’s estate? You can contact the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, an attorney familiar with aunt inheritance laws, at (212) 233-1233 or (718) 509-9774.