New York’s Right of Election
New York estate litigators Tilem & Associates can not only help you plan your estate, but can assist you if you are already involved in the situation where there is a dispute over what you will inherit either through a will contest or because your loved one died without a will, also called intestate.
So, you are married. You spend years with your spouse. You have your ups. You have your downs (but mostly, you have downs). Then, there comes a point when you decide that you are going to write your will and that you are going to disinherit your spouse and bequeath your assets to others. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your position, New York State does not allow an individual to disinherit his or her spouse.
When someone dies with a will in New York, EPTL 5-3.1, allows the surviving spouse to collect certain assets, no matter who the will directs those assets be given to. The surviving spouse can collect cash or cash equivalents of up to $25,000. Moreover, the surviving spouse has the right to inherit one automobile (worth up to $25,000). (By the way, if the value of the car is greater than $25,000, the spouse can still keep the vehicle, but the difference in value will have to be paid to the estate.)