Valley Village, CA asked in Real Estate Law, Probate, Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: Do my brother and I have any rights to Dad's house since he had no will?

Our parents owned our family house in Lynbrook, NY since 1962. My mother died in 1974. Dad married Clare soon after and in 1996 added C to the deed. He passed away in 2004. C removed his name from the deed. I have copies of the deed and subsequent alterations. Neither our father nor mother had a will of any kind. C no longer lives in the house. My brother and I wonder if we have any claim on the house when it is sold since Dad BROUGHT THE HOUSE INTO THE MARRIAGE when he married Clare. NY State law: "New York is not a community property state. This means that a spouse won’t automatically receive most or all of the decedent’s property following his or her death, according to New York inheritance laws. If there are children involved, your spouse will receive up to the first $50,000 of your estate, plus half of the balance. Your children will receive the rest evenly.” Could my brother and I inherit half of the proceeds, minus $50,000?

Please advise.

Thank you

1 Lawyer Answer
Benjamin Z. Katz
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: If Clare was added to Deed as a joint tenant, she was entitled to 100% when your dad passed away. If she is listed as a tenant in common with your dad, you may be entitled to something.

Peter J. Weinman and Steven Warren Smollens agree with this answer

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