Intestate Succession: What Happens When There’s No Will

The passing of a loved one is a challenging time, and when that person has not left behind a will, it can add complexity to an already difficult situation. In such cases, the legal process known as intestate succession comes into play. This blog provides valuable insights into what occurs when a person dies without a will, guiding you through the intricate process.

intestate succession

Intestate succession is the legal process that governs the distribution of an individual’s assets and property in the event of their death without a valid will. The specific regulations governing this process differ from one state to another, and New York has established its own set of rules to manage such situations.

The Role Of The Court

When someone dies intestate (without a will), the court appoints an administrator to oversee the distribution of their assets. This individual is typically a close relative, such as a surviving spouse, child, or parent. If no such relative is available, the court may appoint a third party.

The assets are then distributed according to a predetermined hierarchy. In New York, this hierarchy typically starts with the surviving spouse and children. If there are no surviving immediate family members, the assets may be distributed to more distant relatives, such as parents, siblings, or even cousins, depending on the circumstances.

Complex Cases


A person holding a child.

In cases where the deceased individual has no surviving relatives, their assets may be reverted to the state. It’s crucial to remember that intestate succession can lead to unexpected outcomes, potentially leaving your assets in the hands of individuals you may not have chosen.

Planning For The Future

While intestate succession serves as a default mechanism, it’s not a substitute for a carefully crafted will. Without a will, your estate may be distributed in ways you would not have preferred. It’s essential to engage the services of an experienced estate lawyer to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Estate And Family Law Services in Queens And Brooklyn

For those in New York, the professional guidance of estate and Real Property Law firm Brooklyn and Brooklyn is invaluable. Ensuring your assets are distributed as you desire requires careful planning, and the team at Ledwidge & Associates offers the expertise you need to navigate the complexities of estate planning NYC. Get in touch with us for matters regarding interstate succession.

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Intestate Succession: What Happens When There’s No Will

Ledwidge & Associates

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. in New York City has years of experience helping clients create estate plans that fit their needs. We have the experience and resources to handle your critical legal matters with the utmost care and attention to detail.