If a person passes away without a Last Will and Testament, or if a Will is deemed invalid, their estate will be distributed according to the Estates, Powers & Trusts Law 4-4.1. When there is a surviving spouse, children, siblings, or grandparents, determining the heirs may be straightforward. However, this is not always the case and kinship may need to be proven.
Kinship proceedings and hearings, held in the Surrogate’s Court, determine distribution and name an administrator to oversee the management of the estate. Those asserting their claim, called claimants or alleged heirs, need to prove their right to inheritance, and a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to represent the interest of unknown heirs.
As these proceedings are often complex and time-consuming, it is worthwhile to work with an experienced kinship attorney.
With more than 25 years of experience, attorney Deborah S. Ball has provided counsel on numerous of kinship proceedings and receives court appointments to serve as guardian ad litem.
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