Kinship Cases

Knowledgeable Estate Lawyers

When someone passes away without a will in the State of New York and has no close surviving relatives their estate becomes a NY kinship case.  NY kinship cases often become both involved and complicated rather quickly requiring the counsel of a highly experienced NY kinship lawyer to establish family lineage.

First, the public administrator of the respective county where the decedent resided does an inventory of artifacts within the decedent’s residence to determine lineage and whether the deceased maintained an original will among their possessions.  If a will is not found the public administrator arranges for the burial of the decedent.  The next step taken by the public administrator in a NY kinship estate involves a preliminary search for the decedent’s next of kin, also known as distributees or heirs.  If found notice will go out to each potential heir who will then be contacted by the public administrator’s office before the formal NY kinship trial begins.  At this point the potential heir or alleged distributee as they are called, will need to retain an experienced NY kinship lawyer to preserve any rights of inheritance they may have.

The NY estate lawyers at our firm are among the most experienced in the world at recovering unclaimed assets of those who pass away without a will.  Both Jason W. Stern and Matt Hunter have recovered countless unclaimed sums of money for the relatives of loved ones who died without a will in kinship proceedings.  Many of these kinship cases were emotionally charged holocaust cases representing the survivors of those who lost their entire families.

While the death of a loved one is hard enough on a family the death of a loved one without a will is even worse. In such an instance, Chapter 17(B) of the N.Y.S. Consolidated Laws directs which parties are to receive the proceeds of the estate.

This will be decided as followed:

  • A surviving spouse is the primary beneficiary and entitled to all of the assets of an estate if there are no children or grandchildren.  If there are children, either marital or non-marital, the spouse receives the first $50,000, plus one-half of the remaining estate.
  • Following the spouse will be the children who are entitled to receive proceeds in equal distribution amounts.
  • Following them will be parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
  • While in NY kinship cases inheritance rights are usually extinguished after first cousins, there are certain instances where a first cousin once removed may step up to inherit as well.

In the event nobody comes forward to claim the estate, The State of New York would keep the proceeds. Simply stated, if someone dies without a will and without any close living relatives, distant relatives such as uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and even first cousins can inherit the proceeds of their estate.  If nobody comes forward, the estate is held by the State of New York indefinitely.

Proving Kinship

Allowing the State of New York to keep the proceeds of a NY estate is never an acceptable option at The Law Offices of Jason W. Stern & Associates.  We are well versed in the area of NY kinship law and have an unparalleled, perfect track record of successfully handling these complex cases.  As highly  skilled NY kinship lawyers with unique genealogical skills we are able to thoroughly gather in-depth family histories to prove up lineage for both Surrogate’s Court and the Public Administrator’s Office as required by estate law in these types of kinship cases.  Our firm has appeared in some of the largest NY kinship estates in history.

The end result of our firm’s extensive NY kinship law experience is the ability to retrieve unclaimed sums of estate proceeds on behalf of the loved ones of relatives who passed without a will.  If you believe you are the rightful heir to your distant relative’s estate, let our firm help you prove kinship.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.