When you pass away without establishing a will or an estate plan, it can make the inheritance and asset distribution process a lot more confusing. One question we’ve heard often from a surviving spouse is “Do I still get the house if I’m not on the deed?” If you have that question for us, this is what a Rockland County wills, trusts & estates attorney from our firm would tell you.
What is Intestate Succession?
Intestate succession is a process that occurs when someone passes away without any kind of will or estate plan that would let everyone know what should be done with their assets. This process can take a while and cause extra stress for your family at a time when they are already dealing with your loss and other difficulties. That is why we are always telling our clients to form a plan of their own as soon as they can. An estate plan is the best way to ensure that your spouse and other beneficiaries get exactly what they should.
Does My Spouse Still Get My House?
In many cases, yes. Your spouse will probably still get your house after your property has gone through the probate process in New York. They get first priority when the courts decide how to divide up property fairly. Most of the time, a court does not want to throw a surviving spouse out of a home where they have been living for years just because their partner did not make a will or estate plan.
The issue is that, without an estate plan, you do not get the chance to divide up other assets as you see fit. If you have other beneficiaries that you want to leave specific items or assets to, you do not get the chance to do that. Your spouse gets the property that was not covered by a will or estate plan, and that is the end of that.
What If I Have Children?
Well, that is how it goes if it was just you and your spouse. If you have children, that can complicate matters a bit. In general, your spouse will receive the first $50,000 of your estate plus half the balance. Your children get the rest, divided up evenly. Depending on the value of your home and your estate in total, this might not be the kind of asset distribution you would have opted for yourself. This is why it is always better to have a plan of your own in place.
Can I Disinherit My Spouse?
What if you do not want your spouse to have the house? What if you do not want them to have anything? Well, we have bad news for you. You cannot disinherit a surviving spouse in New York. They will always get a least a portion of your assets when you pass away.
Schedule a Consultation
So when you are ready to make sure that your spouse, children, and beneficiaries get the right assets, contact the Lauterbach Law Firm. Our knowledgeable attorneys will make it easy to make a plan of your own.