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Sister Inheritance Laws: an Overview

sister inheritance laws
Sister inheritance laws endow you with certain rights to your sister’s inheritance. However, your rights are lower priority than those of your sister’s more immediate family members. As set forth in the laws of the state of New York, you have no rights to your sister’s inheritance if your sister 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 sister left you out of her will.

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

Do I have to be notified if my sister died? If your sister had a will, then sister 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 sister’s will? If you were not named in your sister’s will, then you have the right to contest the will. You can win a will contest if you can prove that your sister 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 half-sisters inherit? According to the laws of the state of New York, half-sisters inherit equally with full sisters. This is only true in some states, New York being one of them.

Can step-sisters inherit? Step-sisters do not inherit. Only if they were adopted by the sister’s parents, in which case they would be considered sisters.

Do all sisters inherit equally? According to sister inheritance laws, all sisters inherit equally unless stated otherwise in the will of the sister who died.

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

Can I inherit from my sister if her marriage was invalid? A legal marriage is assumed to be valid unless you can prove otherwise, even your sister was separate from her spouse or was in the process of divorce. But if you can prove to the court that your sister’s spouse abandoned them, then you will be able to set aside the spouse’s share and will be able to inherit from your sister. 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 sister’s estate? You can contact the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, an attorney familiar with sister inheritance laws, at 718-509-9774 or (718) 509-9774.