What happens to the proceeds of one’s estate who dies without a will and without any close, living relatives ?

Unfortunately without the knowledgeable guidance of an experienced kinship lawyer, these unclaimed assets are often kept by The State of New York where the money sits indefinitely.

What do I need to know about the kinship process ?

Initially, the death is reported to the Public Administrator’s office by the police who document the passing of individuals who have no immediate family. Then the Public Administrator’s Office performs a search for any and all surviving heirs of the decedent, who would then apply to be appointed administrator of the person’s estate if no close relatives are found. Once appointed administrator of the estate, the Public Administrator would have the burden of gathering any and all estate assets of the decedent, paying the expenses and bills for the estate including but not limited to funeral expenses.

The next step is the kinship proceeding. The kinship proceeding begins when the Public Administrator cites any potential heirs of the decedent including children, parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, grandparents and first cousins of the person’s passing. It’s important to note that second cousins are never notified of the passing of a relative because under the kinship law, the right to inherit from a kinship proceeding stops at first cousins, thereby leaving second cousins out of these proceedings.

Once cited, a loved one is now informed that their relative has died and should immediately contact a knowledgeable kinship law firm to represent them through the often tricky kinship process to recover any remaining assets.

The Law Offices of Jason W. Stern & Associates have been representing family members including but not limited to the cousins of people who have passed away without a will and without any close living relatives for more than 30 years. The best kinship attorneys in Queens know that the sooner a potential distributee comes forward to claim their rights as distributees, the easier it is to prove lineage and take the other necessary steps to claim the proceeds of a loved one’s estate from the State of New York.

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