Probate & Estate Administration

If a person dies without a Will, and the closest relatives are aunts, uncles and first cousins, do they inherit in New York?

The answer is YES, but there are some special rules. Aunts, uncles and cousins can inherit if there is nobody in the prior inheritance classes (spouse, kids, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews).  

Many lawyers deal with Surrogate’s Court only peripherally.  Considering that questions about Estates and Surrogate’s Court arise so often, it is worth knowing the basics. Here are the top 10 things worth knowing about Surrogate’s Court….

1. The Surrogate Court Clerk’s offices are broken down into departments:

– Probate (Appointment of a fiduciary when there

The word “probate” is often tossed around as something to be avoided.  As if the failure to avoid it were a mark of stupidity, or symbolized a lack of care or planning.

On some level if a person does extensive planning, and has ALL their assets with named beneficiaries, or if a person creates a

In this article we will review the inheritance rights of first cousins, first cousins once removed, and second cousins under New York law.

People often use the “cousin” terms loosely, as if they were interchangeable.  For family and social purposes they are interchangeable, but legally they are decidedly NOT.  This distinction arises in two particular

Under New York law, when a person dies without a Will, sometimes  first cousins CAN inherit, subject to certain special rules.

The most significant rule is that while first cousins can inherit, generally they cannot serve as fiduciary.  This job goes to the Public Administrator if the County has one (5 boros, Nassau, Suffolk and

When I refer to a “probate case”, I am talking about any situation where someone has died and now someone else is in my office.

In these situations there are 3 main areas I ask questions about.  I can’t think of a situation where these questions would not be asked.  Asking these questions helps me