Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

intestate-surving spouse but legal separation agreement

A cousin domiciled in New York died intestate. He and his wife intended to divorce but NY law requires one year. They entered into a property settlement where he paid her $45,000 and she agreed to have no claim on his property even upon death. He has life insurance with no stated beneficiary, house titled in his name only, mutual funds titled in his name only.

The cousin has no children but surviving parent and siblings.

Does the surviving spouse have rights notwithstanding the prperty settlement she signed and was paid thereon? Or will the parent and siblings inherit everything through probate process?

What is the next step

Asked on 1/25/04, 11:06 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Clement Law Offices of Daniel Clement

Re: intestate-surving spouse but legal separation agreement

Most property settlement agreements provide for a waiver of rights of election or to take based on intestacy. I cannot offer any advice without seeing the agreement.

Daniel Clement

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Answered on 1/27/04, 1:36 pm
Arnold Nager Arnold H. Nager, Esquire

Re: intestate-surving spouse but legal separation agreement

If the agreement was properly drafted, it would bar the wife from claiming her intestate share of the estate.

The next step would be for one of his parents, or a sibling to apply to the Surrogate's Court in the county the decedent was domociled at his death, for Letters of Administration.

In examining this response, please note that we are not entering into an attorney/client relationship, that this is to be taken as informative, and not as legal advice, that it is always best to speak to a lawyer in your area and/or in the area where the transaction and/or events occurred, and that my answer is necessarily limited by the fact that I have not seen the documentation or had an opportunity to go over the matters with you in detail.

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Answered on 1/26/04, 12:25 am

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