When is Kinship an Issue?
There are many circumstances in which someone may need a lawyer to help with a Kinship issue. The initial question when it comes to Administering an Estate is: who are the true beneficiaries of a particular Decedent? Thus, the concept of Kinship relates to a Court’s Determination of whether a claimant is a close enough blood relative of the Decedent such that under New York law, that claimant is entitled to inherit from the Decedent’s Estate. A Kinship issue may also arise in determining whether a claimant, by virtue of their blood relationship to the Decedent, has priority to serve as the Administrator of the Decedent’s Estate.
Typical Scenarios That Require a Status or Kinship Hearing Include:
- When it is unclear if a particular person is entitled to inherit from the Decedent’s Estate. This scenario may arise when the issue of paternity is undetermined and is raised as a threshold issue.
- Situations where multiple individuals request to be appointed the Administrator of a Decedent’s Estate. Who should the Court choose to serve in this scenario? New York law permits certain blood relatives to have the priority of appointment. The Court may need to examine the proof of a proposed Administrator’s blood relationship to the Decedent before making a final determination.
- Lastly, when a government agency called the Public Administrator is appointed as the Administrator of the Estate, a Kinship Hearing is necessary to determine who and how many people will inherit the Estate Assets.
Kinship Hearings in Rego Park, Queens, New york
When a person dies in New York State without a Will, and family members are willing or eligible to act as the Administrator, a unique situation arises. In such cases, more often than not, the Public Administrator (also called the “PA”) of the county where the person resided will Petition the Surrogate’s Court for appointment as the Administrator of the Estate.
Assuming the PA (and not a surviving family member) is appointed as the Estate Administrator, the PA, like any other Court-appointed fiduciary, will marshal any assets of that Decedent and pay any outstanding liabilities and creditor claims. The PA will also attempt to conduct a Diligent Search for any surviving family members of the Decedent, no matter how remote.
Eventually, the PA submits their accounting and report of the activities conducted on behalf of the Decedent’s Estate to the Surrogate’s Court. At this time, any surviving relatives or Next-of-Kin of the Decedent have an opportunity to come forward and claim their share of the Estate. Such claims of Kinship will trigger what is called a “Kinship Hearing.”
This Kinship Hearing, which is akin to a small Trial in the Surrogate’s Court, allows Next-of-Kin claimants to receive distributions of money or property from the Estate subject to the Kinship Claimants proving their blood relationship to the Decedent.
If you are concerned that you may lose your beneficiary rights, the attorneys at N. Khasidova & Associates are prepared and ready to assist you in any of your Kinship matters.