Nieces and nephews inheritance laws endow you with certain rights to your aunt or uncle’s inheritance. However, your rights are lower priority than those of your aunt or uncle’s more immediate family members. As set forth in the laws of the state of New York, you have no rights to your aunt or uncle’s inheritance if they had a living spouse, descendants or parents at the time of their death. Even if you are the closest living relative, you may also have very limited rights if your aunt or uncle left you out of their will.
Will I inherit if my aunt or uncle did not have a will? If your aunt or uncle did not have a will, then you will inherit only if you are “the closest living relative” – only if your aunt or uncle died with no living spouse, descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc.) and parents.
Do I have to be notified if my aunt or uncle died? If your aunt or uncle had a will, then nieces and nephew 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 or uncle’s will? If you were not named in your aunt or uncle’s will, then you have the right to contest the will. You can win a will contest if you can prove that your aunt or uncle 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.
Will I be in charge of my aunt or uncle’s estate? If you are the closest living relative (your aunt or uncle does not have a living spouse, descendants or parents) or you are named as the executor in your aunt or uncle’s will, then you can be named the executor or administrator of their estate.
Can I inherit from my aunt or uncle if they were not married and the children are not theirs? Children are presumed to be biological children if they were born during the marriage or have your aunt or uncle’s name on their birth certificate. Adopted children of your aunt or uncle are considered their children. Step-children or foster children are not considered their children.
Can I inherit from my aunt or uncle if their marriage was invalid? A legal marriage is assumed to be valid unless you can prove otherwise, even your aunt or uncle was separate from their spouse or was in the process of divorce. But if you can prove to the court that your aunt or uncle’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 or uncle. 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 or uncle’s estate? You can contact the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, an attorney familiar with nieces and nephews inheritance laws, at (212) 233-1233 or (718) 509-9774.