Weinstein & Randisi
Phone:585-310-1578
Toll free:800-768-1780

Resize the Content Text

When is a surviving spouse disqualified as an heir?

In New York, when a person dies, it does not necessarily mean that the surviving spouse is automatically able to receive the proceeds of his or her estate. This is particularly important if the person died intestate. Not having an estate plan could lead to litigation among the heirs. Of course, it is advisable for everyone to formulate a comprehensive estate plan so there is no confusion at the time of death, but if there is not one, it is important to know when a spouse can be disqualified under state law.

The person will not be considered a surviving spouse if there was a decree of divorce, if the marriage was annulled, or the marriage was nullified at the time of death of the other spouse. Any marriage that is considered incestuous, bigamous, or prohibited will also result in the surviving spouse's disqualification. Getting a decree for a divorce from the spouse outside New York State, having the marriage annulled or declared invalid because of an absence will render the surviving spouse disqualified.

When there was a judgment or decree of separation that was deemed valid in New York and was rendered against the surviving spouse while being in effect at the time of death will disqualify the surviving spouse. When there was abandonment of the deceased spouse and that continued until he or she died, it is disqualifying. Finally, if the spouse was duty bound to provide support to the other spouse and failed to do so despite the other spouse not having the means or capability of doing so - unless the marital duty resumed and was ongoing until the death of the spouse who required support - it is disqualifying.

It is not unusual for people to try to get an estate in part or in its entirety after a person has died even if there was a fissure in the relationship or a dispute over eligibility for being an heir under the law. Knowing when a spouse can be disqualified can be a key factor after a person's death for the surviving spouse and for other members of the family. Having legal assistance from a law firm that is aware of these situations and can help with estate administration is useful to deal with a case.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
  • In order to finalize the documents we came to your office and were greeted in a very professional manner and we could not have asked for finer service. We left with copies of everything we needed and feel very confident our needs have been met. Thanks again. We will surely recommend you should the opportunity arise.

    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
  • Filing for Medicaid is never an easy or fun process. However, working with the Weinstein & Randisi firm made the process simple and streamlined. We were able to obtain all files and records regarding Medicaid enrollment within a few days using specially prepared checklists and verbiage recommended by our assigned paralegal.

    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
Awarded Top 50 Estate Planning Blog
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Blog Feed

Blog

Weinstein & Randisi - estate planning

290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
Rochester Law Office Map

Map

Call us now for a free, 100% confidential consultation: