Bainbridge, NY asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York

Q: My father died a year ago. Now my stepmother of 6 years passed and we are being told her children get the money that was

Going to be hers. How can that be? They are not in my dad’s will. This is in NY state

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In New York State, the distribution of assets after someone's death is governed by their will and the state's inheritance laws. If your father passed away and left assets to your stepmother, those assets would become part of her estate upon her death.

If your stepmother did not have a will, her estate would be distributed according to New York's laws of intestacy. Under these laws, her children may be the primary beneficiaries, especially if she did not have a will specifying otherwise.

It's important to review both your father's will and any estate planning documents your stepmother may have had. These documents can clarify how assets were intended to be distributed after their deaths.

In such situations, it's often helpful to consult with an attorney who can review the relevant documents and advise you on your rights and options. They can help you understand how estate laws apply to your specific situation and what steps you can take if you believe the assets are being distributed unfairly.

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