Everyone should have an estate plan in place. If you die without leaving behind any instructions with regard to the transfer of your property you will die intestate. Under these circumstances, the state will be forced to step in and sort things out.
Intestate Succession Laws
The state of New York will make an effort to find your next of kin if you die intestate. In many cases blood relatives will come forward, so there will be no particular need to conduct an exhaustive search.
There are clear-cut rules of succession, but they vary slightly from state to state. Generally speaking, your closest living blood relative or relatives inherit the intestate property that you leave behind.
In the state of New York, if you have children but no living spouse, your children would inherit all of your intestate property. Conversely, if you leave behind a surviving spouse but no children, your surviving spouse would be your sole heir.
Your parents would inherit all of your intestate property if you had no children and no surviving spouse. State law would allow for your siblings to inherit everything if you had no surviving parents, children, or spouse.
No Will, No Living Relatives
If you die without a will or any other estate planning document expressing your final wishes and you have no relatives still alive, the state can capture your resources under escheat laws.
There would be a three-year period of time during which a relative can come forward. If there are sufficient resources to finance such an effort, the court may allow a court-appointed personal representative to conduct a search.
If this period of time elapses without anyone materializing to claim an inheritance, the coffers of the state of New York would absorb the intestate estate.
Intestacy succession laws would come into play if you die without a will or any other estate planning documents. There is no reason to submit to these specific parameters. You could be certain that your assets are distributed according to your preferences by executing an estate plan.
Many people go through life without making any plans for something that is absolutely inevitable because they think that they will always have time to handle the matter later on. In fact, no one has a crystal ball, and people pass away unexpectedly every day.
Another thing to take into consideration if you are procrastinating is the fact that incapacity is common among elders. You may not be in a position to execute a valid estate plan if you put it off until you are no longer capable of sound decision-making.
Intestacy is really not an option for responsible adults. If you are currently going through life without an estate plan, feel free to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.