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My mother passed away without a will a month ago. She owned a house with my stepdad in Albany, NY. He still lives there. I live in FL. What portion of the estate value do I get as a result?

  • Depends upon how the house was titled. If it was in joint tenancy, which could be common in the situation you describe, you get nothing. – ohwilleke Nov 29 '17 at 7:27
  • @ohwilleke, I see. Why do you say that is common? Is that the typical way married couples go when buying a house? – Raksha Nov 29 '17 at 21:36
  • Yes. Most married couples take title to their homes in joint tenancy with right of survivorship (even though sometimes that isn't the prudent thing to do). – ohwilleke Nov 29 '17 at 21:42
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IANAL. I am not your lawyer.

Assuming that they bought the house together, and are both on the title, your step-father would, as a surviving owner, take sole possession of the house (and it wound not enter your mother's estate). If she bought the house before they married and he moved in, and he is not on the title, it would theoretically enter her estate, but there may be additional rules as it is his residence.

As your mother lived in NY, NY law governs her estate.

If the estate is worth less than $50,000, you would get nothing.

If the estate is worth more than $50,000, he would get $50,000 plus half of the remainder, with the other half of the remainder being split between your mother's children. You don't mention any siblings, so I would assume you don't have any, in which case you should receive:

(Estate_Value - $50,000)/2.

Source: https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/WhenSomeoneDies/intestacy.shtml

  • Why do you say "your step-father would, as a surviving owner, take sole possession of the house (and it wound not enter your mother's estate)"? Isn't it still considered her property as well since they are both on the title? – Raksha Nov 29 '17 at 2:59
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    @Raksha, upon her passing, her interest in the property ended. Thus, absent a will that would - within the law - dictate what she wanted done with her property upon death, it will naturally go to her spouse whose name is on the title. – A.fm. Nov 29 '17 at 6:29
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    Also worth noting that just because the house is resolved doesn't mean that there aren't other beneficiary designations naming you (e.g. on a retirement account or life insurance policy) or probate assets (valuable personal property or vehicles or investment accounts or bank accounts which are title in her name only, for example) to which you might have an entitlement. – ohwilleke Nov 29 '17 at 21:44

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