≡ Menu

Distributee of Estate: What Is That?

what is a distributee of estate

A distributee of estate is defined as a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent who died without a will.[1]

Legatee, devisee, distributee, and beneficiary. While to the naked eye these seem like synonyms, they have very important distinctions. A difference in the four terms can mean the difference in things like whether you are getting valuable property from an estate, whether you have legal ability to contest the will and whether you are entitled to demand an accounting of an estate

Let’s start with the basic definitions:

  • Distributee– a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent who died without a will.[1]
  • Beneficiary– a person entitled to any part or all of an estate.[2]
  • Legatee– a person designated to receive a transfer by will of personal property.[3]
  • Devisee– a person designated to receive a transfer by will of real property.[4]

What is a distributee of estate? – It’s a person who is entitled to inherit from the person who died in the absence of a will. SCPA 103(14) defines a distributee of estate as follows: “Distributee. Any person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution.”

What is a devisee? – it’s someone who receives real estate, such as a house from a will. In contrast, a legatee is someone who receives chattel, or personal artifacts such as art, stocks, cars, and bank accounts. So, what is a legatee? – usually someone who receives specific property. Of course, the same person could qualify as both a legatee and a devisee in a will. This distinction existed in common law, and remains to this day, though the more modern statutory provisions displace them with the term “beneficiary.” Nevertheless, a statute’s application turns on the written language.

What is a beneficiary? That’s a broad term, which combines a legatee and a devisee into one. A beneficiary has other connotations as well. In a trust, a beneficiary is someone who receives distributions from the trustee.

These three terms apply to a last will and testament left by the decedent. These terms apply to those receiving vested property, as well as those who may have a future interest whether or not the future interest ever vests.

For example, a decedent bequests his house to Bob and his heirs, as long as Bob is married, and if not to Cathy and her heirs. Decedent also devises his art collection to Cathy and her heirs. In this example: Bob is a devisee because he received the house. Bob is also a beneficiary because all devisees are beneficiaries. Cathy is a legatee because she received the art collection—a is still single when the decedent died. And Cathy is also a devisee. She stands to inherit the property in case Bob is single, thus she has what is known as an executory interest in the property. She is considered a devisee even if she never gets the property because Bob stayed single. Consequently, she is also a beneficiary.

When a statute refers to a distributee of estate, it only refers to the case where a person died intestate—without a will. This is an important distinction because while a future interest as a beneficiary may have standing to bring suit (e.g., to challenge the executor), a status of a distributee of estate changes depending on the consanguinity and kinship proceedings.

For example, in the case of In re Reape,[5] Mr. Reape died intestate. His brother objected to several claimants purported to be Mr. Reape’s non-marital children. Yet, once the court determined one of the claimants to be his child, the court threw out his brother’s objections as to the other claimants. Initially, the brother had an entitlement to the estate. Yet after a closer relative, he lost all standing and any rights to the matter. Thus in this case, the non-marital child is a distributee of estate; while the brother was a potential distributee of estate that never materialized.

New York’s estate law is complicated. The statutory application of estate distribution applies to a singular or a class of types of recipients. This is due to a combination of old common law terminology and modern definitions. Understandably, all this terminology can be a bit confusing. If you have a case that requires finding out what is a distributee of estate, it is always best to speak with a New York estate lawyer about your status and potential options. I am a New York estate, guardianship, wills, trust, Medicaid and probate lawyer with over a decade of experience. If you would like to speak to me, I can be reached at (212) 233-1233.

[1] SCPA 103(14).

[2] SCPA 103(33) (McKinney 2018).

[3] SCPA 103(8).

[4] SCPA 103(13).

[5] In re Reape, 974 N.Y.S.2d 496 (2013).

Define Devisee:

define devisee

Define devisee: someone who receives real estate, such as a house from a will.

In contrast, a legatee is someone who receives chattel, or personal artifacts such as art, stocks, cars, and bank accounts. A legatee is usually someone who receives specific property. Of course, the same person could qualify as both a legatee and a devisee in a will. This distinction existed in common law, and remains to this day, though the more modern statutory provisions displace them with the term “beneficiary.” Nevertheless, a statute’s application turns on the written language.

Legatee, devisee, distributee, and beneficiary. While to the naked eye these seem like synonyms, they have very important distinctions. A difference in the four terms can mean the difference in things like whether you are getting valuable property from an estate, whether you have legal ability to contest the will and whether you are entitled to demand an accounting of an estate

Let’s start with the basic definitions:

  • Define devisee: someone who receives real estate, such as a house from a will.
  • Distributee– a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent who died without a will.[1]
  • Beneficiary– a person entitled to any part or all of an estate.[2]
  • Legatee– a person designated to receive a transfer by will of personal property.[3]
  • Devisee– a person designated to receive a transfer by will of real property.[4]

What is a distributee? – It’s a person who is entitled to inherit from the person who died in the absence of a will. SCPA 103(14) defines a distributee as follows: “Distributee. Any person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution.”

What is a beneficiary? That’s a broad term, which combines a legatee and a devisee into one. A beneficiary has other connotations as well. In a trust, a beneficiary is someone who receives distributions from the trustee.

These three terms apply to a last will and testament left by the decedent. These terms apply to those receiving vested property, as well as those who may have a future interest whether or not the future interest ever vests.

For example: A decedent bequests his house to Bob and his heirs, as long as Bob is married, and if not to Cathy and her heirs. Decedent also devises his art collection to Cathy and her heirs. In this example: Bob is a devisee because he received the house. Bob is also a beneficiary because all devisees are beneficiaries. Cathy is a legatee because she received the art collection—a is still single when the decedent died. And Cathy is also a devisee. She stands to inherit the property in case Bob is single, thus she has what is known as an executory interest in the property. She can be defined as a devisee even if she never gets the property because Bob stayed single. Consequently, she is also a beneficiary.

When a statute refers to a distributee, it only refers to the case where a person died intestate—without a will. This is an important distinction, because while a future interest as a beneficiary may have standing to bring suit (e.g., to challenge the executor), a status of a distributee changes depending on the consanguinity and kinship proceedings.

For example, in the case of In re Reape,[5] Mr. Reape died intestate. His brother objected to several claimants purported to be Mr. Reape’s non-marital children. Yet, once the court determined one of the claimants to be his child, the court threw out his brother’s objections as to the other claimants. Initially, the brother had an entitlement to the estate. Yet after a closer relative, he lost all standing and any rights to the matter. Thus in this case, the non-marital child is a distributee; while the brother was a potential distributee which never materialized.

New York’s estate law is complicated. The statutory application of estate distribution applies to a singular or a class of types of recipients. This is due to a combination of old common law terminology and modern definitions. Understandably, all this terminology can be a bit confusing. When you are trying to define devisee for your case, it is always best to speak with a New York estate lawyer about your status and potential options. I am a New York estate, guardianship, wills, trust, medicaid and probate lawyer with over a decade of experience. If you would like to speak to me, I can be reached at (212) 233-1233.

[1] SCPA 103(14).

[2] SCPA 103(33) (McKinney 2018).

[3] SCPA 103(8).

[4] SCPA 103(13).

[5] In re Reape, 974 N.Y.S.2d 496 (2013).

Define Distributee:

define distributee

You define distributee as follows: a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent who died without a will.[1]

Legatee, devisee, distributee, and beneficiary. While to the naked eye these seem like synonyms, they have very important distinctions. A difference in the four terms can mean the difference in things like whether you are getting valuable property from an estate, whether you have legal ability to contest the will and whether you are entitled to demand an accounting of an estate

Let’s start with the basic definitions:

  • Define distributee: a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent who died without a will.[1]
  • Beneficiary– a person entitled to any part or all of an estate.[2]
  • Legatee– a person designated to receive a transfer by will of personal property.[3]
  • Devisee– a person designated to receive a transfer by will of real property.[4]

How do you define distributee? – It’s a person who is entitled to inherit from the person who died in the absence of a will. SCPA 103(14) defines a distributee as follows: “Distributee. Any person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution.”

What is a devisee? – it’s someone who receives real estate, such as a house from a will. In contrast, a legatee is someone who receives chattel, or personal artifacts such as art, stocks, cars, and bank accounts. So, what is a legatee? – usually someone who receives specific property. Of course, the same person could qualify as both a legatee and a devisee in a will. This distinction existed in common law, and remains to this day, though the more modern statutory provisions displace them with the term “beneficiary.” Nevertheless, a statute’s application turns on the written language.

What is a beneficiary? That’s a broad term, which combines a legatee and a devisee into one. A beneficiary has other connotations as well. In a trust, a beneficiary is someone who receives distributions from the trustee.

These three terms apply to a last will and testament left by the decedent. These terms apply to those receiving vested property, as well as those who may have a future interest whether or not the future interest ever vests.

For example: A decedent bequests his house to Bob and his heirs, as long as Bob is married, and if not to Cathy and her heirs. Decedent also devises his art collection to Cathy and her heirs. In this example: Bob is a devisee because he received the house. Bob is also a beneficiary because all devisees are beneficiaries. Cathy is a legatee because she received the art collection—a is still single when the decedent died. And Cathy is also a devisee. She stands to inherit the property in case Bob is single, thus she has what is known as an executory interest in the property. She is considered a devisee even if she never gets the property because Bob stayed single. Consequently, she is also a beneficiary.

When a statute refers to a distributee, it only refers to the case where a person died intestate—without a will. This is an important distinction for the way you define distributee because while a future interest as a beneficiary may have standing to bring suit (e.g., to challenge the executor), a status of a distributee changes depending on the consanguinity and kinship proceedings.

For example, in the case of In re Reape,[5] Mr. Reape died intestate. His brother objected to several claimants purported to be Mr. Reape’s non-marital children. Yet, once the court determined one of the claimants to be his child, the court threw out his brother’s objections as to the other claimants. Initially, the brother had an entitlement to the estate. Yet after a closer relative, he lost all standing and any rights to the matter. Thus in this case, the non-marital child is a distributee; while the brother was a potential distributee which never materialized.

New York’s estate law is complicated. The statutory application of estate distribution applies to a singular or a class of types of recipients. This is due to a combination of old common law terminology and modern definitions. Understandably, all this terminology can be a bit confusing. If you have a case that requires you to define distributee, it is always best to speak with a New York estate lawyer about your status and potential options. I am a New York estate, guardianship, wills, trust, medicaid and probate lawyer with over a decade of experience. If you would like to speak to me, I can be reached at (212) 233-1233.

[1] SCPA 103(14).

[2] SCPA 103(33) (McKinney 2018).

[3] SCPA 103(8).

[4] SCPA 103(13).

[5] In re Reape, 974 N.Y.S.2d 496 (2013).

Define Legatee:

define legatee

You define Legatee as follows: a person designated to receive a transfer by will of personal property.[1]

A Legatee is often contrasted with a Devisee, who is a person designated to receive a transfer by will of real property, [2] a distributee, who is a person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent who died without a will, [3] and a Beneficiary, who is a person generally entitled to any part or all of an estate.[4]

Define legatee – usually someone who receives specific property in a will, but not real estate. Of course, the same person could qualify as both a legatee and a devisee in a will. This distinction existed in common law, and remains to this day, though the more modern statutory provisions displace them with the term “beneficiary.” Nevertheless, a statute’s application turns on the written language.

Legatee, devisee, distributee, and beneficiary. While to the naked eye these seem like synonyms, they have very important distinctions. A difference in the four terms can mean the difference in things like whether you are getting valuable property from an estate, whether you have legal ability to contest the will and whether you are entitled to demand an accounting of an estate

Define distributee: a person who is entitled to inherit from the person who died in the absence of a will. SCPA 103(14) defines a distributee as follows: “Distributee. Any person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution.”

Define devisee: a person who receives real estate, such as a house from a will. In contrast, a legatee is someone who receives chattel, or personal artifacts such as art, stocks, cars, and bank accounts.

Define beneficiary: beneficiary is a broad term, which combines a legatee and a devisee into one. A beneficiary has other connotations as well. In a trust, a beneficiary is someone who receives distributions from the trustee.

These three terms apply to a last will and testament left by the decedent. These terms apply to those receiving vested property, as well as those who may have a future interest whether or not the future interest ever vests.

For example, a decedent bequests his house to Bob and his heirs, as long as Bob is married, and if not to Cathy and her heirs. Decedent also devises his art collection to Cathy and her heirs. In this example: Bob is a devisee because he received the house. Bob is also a beneficiary because all devisees are beneficiaries. Cathy can be defined as a legatee because she received the art collection—a is still single when the decedent died. And Cathy is also a devisee. She stands to inherit the property in case Bob is single, thus she has what is known as an executory interest in the property. She is considered a devisee even if she never gets the property because Bob stayed single. Consequently, she is also a beneficiary.

When a statute refers to a distributee, it only refers to the case where a person died intestate—without a will. This is an important distinction because while a future interest as a beneficiary may have standing to bring suit (e.g., to challenge the executor), a status of a distributee changes depending on the consanguinity and kinship proceedings. That’s different than a legatee.

For example, in the case of In re Reape,[5] Mr. Reape died intestate. His brother objected to several claimants purported to be Mr. Reape’s non-marital children. Yet, once the court determined one of the claimants to be his child, the court threw out his brother’s objections as to the other claimants. Initially, the brother had an entitlement to the estate. Yet after a closer relative, he lost all standing and any rights to the matter. Thus in this case, the non-marital child is a distributee; while the brother was a potential distributee that never materialized.

New York’s estate law is complicated. The statutory application of estate distribution applies to a singular or a class of types of recipients. This is due to a combination of old common law terminology and modern definitions. Understandably, all this terminology can be a bit confusing. The way you define legatee can have many consequences. It is always best to speak with a New York estate lawyer about your status and potential options. I am a New York estate, guardianship, wills, trust, Medicaid and probate lawyer with over a decade of experience. If you would like to speak to me, I can be reached at (212) 233-1233.

[1] SCPA 103(14).

[2] SCPA 103(33) (McKinney 2018).

[3] SCPA 103(8).

[4] SCPA 103(13).

[5] In re Reape, 974 N.Y.S.2d 496 (2013).

Using a Lis Pendens to Enforce a Real Estate Contract

A threat of filing a Lis Pendens or Notice of Pendency of a Lawsuit on a property has been used by buyers who try to prevent a seller from getting out of a contract or to try to enforce a contract that expired. We’ve seen buyers use the threat of a lis pendens to try to get more time to close on a contract or to get adjustments in price.

The seller is faced with an alternative – either accept our terms or have your property tied up for years in litigation.

A thing that the seller should keep in mind is that the buyer may be bluffing. Just as the seller does not want to keep the house tied up in litigation, the buyer does not want to keep their deposit tied up in escrow. The buyer also does not want to spend money on legal fees, unless they plan to fight a lawsuit themselves or have their lawyer cousin do it for free.

Another possibility is that the buyer can file the lawsuit and a lis pendens to try to get quick results, but has no real intention to tie up their deposit for years and pay a lawyer every month. On the other hand, the buyer may be serious, especially if the contract is giving them such a good price that it is worth it for them to spend time in court litigating it.

The most common way for contracts to go is to either result in the closing or be canceled and the deposit is returned to the buyer. Very few make it to the stage where the contract is not closed but the buyer still wants it to be open. Usually, a buyer just looks for a different property. But if a situation happens where a buyer is considering an option for tying up property in contract with a lis pendens, all factors must be considered.

It’s usually best to negotiate and give the buyer some time (let’s say 30 days). Perhaps even lower the price a little bit. But in exchange for an agreement not to file a lawsuit on the contract and Lis Pendens on the property. Other options may be considered on a case by case basis.

[Albert Goodwin, Esq. is an attorney with experience in closing disputes. He can be reached at (212) 233-1233.]