Intestate Laws

Without a Will, Your Estate Will be at the Mercy of Intestate Laws

The consequences of inheritance can be so complex that an enormous body of statutory and case law has evolved to decide "who legally gets what" when someone dies.  If you die without a will, you die "intestate." Each state has intestate laws which determine who will receive the property of intestate decedents.

The problems associated with dying intestate begin with the fact that the decedent can not  decide and control who will receive his or her assets.  The intestacy laws determine whether the assets will be distributed to his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings or more distant relatives.  These relatives may have had little or no contact with the decedent while he or she was alive or the decedent may have had a poor relationship with them.

Unfortunately, the decedent in these cases did  not take the time to prepare a last will that would have expressed his or her intentions as to the disposition of the estate.  A will would have designated the decedent's beneficiaries.

Regardless of the size of an estate, most adults — young and old — and their families benefit greatly from having a well-prepared estate plan consisting of documents such as a: Last Will, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Living Will. I have many years of experience working with and advising clients in the creation and implementation of plans that effectively express the clients’ personal desires regarding the disposition and protection of assets while providing potential tax advantages and security for family and beneficiaries.  I have also represented many family members in Court proceedings relating to intestate estates and estate administration.

If you are interested in speaking with me about your estate,  call (212) 355-2575 or e-mail

New York Probate Lawyer Blog - Intestate Estate