Who and how do relatives recover in NY kinship case Administrations? (Cousins Cases)

Very few lawyers in NYS even know what a kinship case is and even fewer NY lawyers know how to successfully handle one. A NY kinship (cousins) case is when someone dies in NYS without a will and without any close relatives such as a spouse or children. You would be shocked to know how often this happens in NY for one reason or another. Sometimes the original will is misplaced, destroyed or perhaps the decedent never drafted one. It is vital to go straight to an experienced New York kinship lawyer to handle your case if you are the beneficiary of such an estate.

So who collects in NY kinship (cousins) cases?

After we as NY kinship lawyers establish that the decedent died without a valid will and without any closer relatives than aunts and uncles, the estate is then divided into shares by the number of aunts and uncles who have survived the decedent. In this formula, any and all aunts and uncles who predeceased (died before) the decedent with living children (issue), post deceased the decedent and/or who are still alive are accounted for purposes of the kinship estate. In other words if an uncle or aunt of the decedent died before the decedent and had no living children at the time of decedent’s death, their estate cannot inherit and are excluded from this formula. To phrase it in even simpler terms, predeceased aunts or uncles without children DO NOT INHERIT.

So how are the distributive shares calculated in kinship (cousins) cases?

Once we as NY kinship lawyers determine who the aunts and uncles are who have either survived the decedent or have children, (cousins of the decedent which is why we call them cousins cases), we have to figure out each distributee’s share of the estate. As stated above each distributee will fall into one of three categories, surviving aunt or uncle, post deceased aunt or uncle (died after the decedent), or cousins of the decedent.

The formula for determining the distributee’s share under the NY kinship law distinguishes each person’s respective share of the estate depending on which category they fall into. A surviving aunt or uncle will receive their shares outright. Lets assume there are 6 aunts and uncles, 2 of them whom have survived the decedent, 2 more who have post-deceased the decedent and 2 who pre-deceased the decedent with issue (children). In this kinship scenario the two surviving uncles and aunts will each get a 1/6 portion of the estate outright.

The next category would be to determine how many post-deceased uncles and aunt’s there were, of which we have 2. Their children, cousins of the decedent, would step into the shoes of their post-deceased uncle and aunt and share their parents’ distributive shares. In our scenario the children and/or beneficiaries of their parents estate would split their parents respective 1/6 share.

In a NY kinship case the remaining portion of the estate, 2/6 in our scenario, will be apportioned to all remaining distributees of the estate equally. So if there are 10 remaining cousins of the two predeceased uncles and aunts, each cousin would be entitled to 1/10 of the 2/6 remaining shares of the estate. Whether this formula is fair or not is another question.

What happens if an aunt or uncle predeceases the decedent with children (issue) who also predecease the decedent?

When an aunt or uncle with children all predecease the decedent that blood line is removed from the kinship equation. To put it another way, if an aunt or uncle predeceases the decedent and their children who would be the decedent’s cousins also predecease the decedent, nobody can inherit from this line of the family.

As experienced NY Kinship Lawyers our firm is constantly working with distributees on these types of complex estate cases. When it comes to kinship cases nothing is simple. These cases require the specific knowledge and experience of a NY kinship lawyer. As you can see from the scenario above, even the formula for dividing the distributive shares of these complicated kinship cases is involved.

If you think a loved one has died without a will and you may be the distributee of such an estate, call the NY kinship lawyers at the Law Offices of Jason W. Stern & Associates at (718) 261-2444.

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