Family & Children’s Inheritance Rights

What are My Inheritance Rights as a Child or a Sibling?

If someone dies without a valid will, then the estate is deemed an administration matter and follows the rules governing intestate succession.  After the required liabilities and expenses are resolved the fiduciary will then distribute the estate.


Distribution shall then be as follows:

a) If a decedent is survived by:

  1. A spouse and issue, fifty thousand dollars and one-half of the residue to the spouse, and the balance thereof to the issue by representation.
  2. A spouse and no issue, the whole to the spouse.
  3. Issue and no spouse, the whole to the issue, by representation.
  4. One or both parents, and no spouse and no issue, the whole to the surviving parent or parents.
  5. Issue of parents, and no spouse, issue or parent, the whole to the issue of the parents, by representation.
  6. One or more grandparents or the issue of grandparents (as hereinafter defined), and no spouse, issue, parent or issue of parents,  one-half to the surviving paternal grandparent or grandparents, or if neither of them survives, representation,  and  the  other  one-half  to  the  surviving  maternal  grandparent  or  grandparents,  or  if  neither  of  them survives  the  decedent,  to  their  issue,  by  representation;  provided  that if the decedent was not survived by a grandparent or grandparents on one  side or  by  the  issue  of  such  grandparents,  the  whole to the surviving  grandparent or grandparents on the other side, or  if  neither  of  them survives  the  decedent,  to their issue, by representation, in the same manner as the one-half. For the purposes of this subparagraph, issue  of  grandparents  shall  not include issue more remote than grandchildren of such grandparents.
  7. Great-grandchildren of grandparents, and no spouse, issue, parent, issue of parents, grandparent, children of grandparents or grandchildren of grandparents, one-half to the  great-grandchildren  of  the  paternal grandparents, per   capita,   and   the   other   one-half   to  the great-grandchildren of the maternal grandparents, per  capita;  provided that  if  the  decedent  was  not  survived  by  great-grandchildren  of  grandparents on one  side,  the  whole  to  the  great-grandchildren  of grandparents on the other side, in the same manner as the one-half.

(b) For all purposes of this section, decedent’s relatives of the half blood shall be treated as if they were relatives of the whole blood.

(c)  Distributees  of  the decedent, conceived before his or her death but born alive thereafter, take as if they  were  born  in  his  or  her lifetime.

(d) The right of an adopted child to take a distributive share and the right  of  succession  to  the  estate  of  an adopted child continue as provided in the domestic relations law.

(e) A distributive share passing to  a  surviving  spouse  under  this  section is  in  lieu  of any right of dower to which such spouse may be entitled. Per NY State EPTL 4-1 Rules.


To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call attorney Lawston at 631-425-7299.


An Overview of Our Practice

We offer full-service legal counsel in matters involving:

  • Probate and estate litigation—We handle disputes related to the administration or probate of an estate, including allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, will and trust contests, beneficiary claims, and disagreements over the division of real property and other complex assets.
  • Probate, estate and trust administration—We will walk you through the probate process, helping you prepare an accounting of all debts and assets, oversee payment of all final debts and taxes, and distribute all property in accordance with the terms of the will. We also assist clients with trust administration.
  • Real estate—We handle all matters related to the purchase or sale of residential real estate, from the negotiation of terms to the closing.
  • Business counsel for professional entertainers—We provide confidential estate planning, real estate and business counsel to a number of well-known entertainers.

Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston

Contact us today or call our office at 631-425-7299 to set up a free initial consultation.


Out-of-State Executor Attorney

If you are a fiduciary (executor, administrator, or trustee), an heir or a beneficiary of a New York estate, we can assist you. In fact, we represent clients nationwide. We can help you If the decedent died in New York or has assets in New York State. If you are chosen to represent the estate or if you are receiving an inheritance from a New York estate, contact our law firm today.

There Are Two Types of New York Estates

  1. The decedent resided in NY at the time of death and their domicile is in New York at the time of death.
  2. There are assets located in NY at the time of death, and an ancillary proceeding is needed even though the decedent may have died elsewhere,

Find out more information about out-of-state probate help.

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we provide comprehensive counsel to out-of-state heirs and executors, including ancillary administrators in proceedings in the state of New York. We will help you take the proper steps to be appointed as personal representative in an ancillary proceeding in New York, and will guide you through the process, so that the New York property can be properly distributed.

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