New York Code §4-1-1

First, all debts, administration costs and funeral expenses are deducted out of the estate. Then, the decedent is only survived by a spouse; the spouse inherits the entire estate. If both children and a spouse survive the decedent, the spouse receives $50,000 and 1/2 the estate, and the children receive the remaining half. If only children, and no spouse, survive the decedent, the children inherit the entire estate. If no children or spouse survive the decedent, the estate goes to the surviving parent(s). If no spouse, children or parents survive the decedent, the estate goes to the decedent's parent's descendants. Surviving grandparents, or if they are not alive the grandparents' descendants, are next in line to inherit the estate. If there are no surviving children, spouse, parents, descendants of parents, grandparents or descendants of grandparents, then the great­grandchildren of the decedent's grandparents inherit the estate. If there are no relatives to inherit the estate, the estate escheats, which means that the State of New York would get the estate.

The decedent's half relatives are treated as if they were whole blood relatives. Descendants, who were conceived during the decedent's lifetime, but were born after his death, are treated as if they were born during the decedent's lifetime. Adopted children have a right to inherit from the estate.

Under New York Code § 4­1.2, Children born out of wedlock are entitled to inherit from their parents' estates, the same as if they were born to parents who were married to each other at the time of conception.

Under New York Code § 4­1.4, a parent, who survives a child that the parent abandoned and did not support until the child reached the age of 21, cannot inherit from the child's estate. The only exceptions would be if the parent subsequently resumed taking care of the child, or the parent placed the child for adoption with a person who fraudulently promised to adopt the child and then failed to live up to that promise.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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