Some questions about a person who died without a will

Need some legal clarity for a situation that I’m dealing with.

I’m dealing with it because nobody else will.

A very close friend of mine died near the end of 2013. (n NYC) He died without a will.

He had a little money in the bank, (about 6K) some credit card debt but he was also published playwright. The publishing company (Samuel French) issues royalty checks and they want to send them to someone.

His ‘next of kin’ was his older sister who lived in MO. (He hated her) But he didn’t make out a will so I guess the royalty payments should go to her. However now she had died. I don’t know if she had a will of if her will addressed the royalty payments. (probably not) She is married, and has an adult son.

Of those two, who is the ‘next of kin’ to the playwright now? Does that matter?

Does it go to sister and then to her husband? (he is pretty old and probably won’t last too much longer)

How do I make these people take their friggin money?

IANAL, obviously. One of the common rules of intestate succession is that if there is both a surviving spouse and child(ren), half goes to the surviving spouse, and the other half equally to the surviving children.

If the sister died after your friend, then your friends estate is now part of his sister’s estate.

Rules Governing Intestate Sucession in New York State

The term “Intestate Succession” means “who gets the dough when dead guy died without a will.”

Intestate succession questions keep law students up at night wondering if they’re going to pass the Bar after all. :frowning:

It looks like under NY Law, if Sister died before inheriting from Dead Friend, her husband can’t take – sub 5 regarding siblings is “issue of parents” not “siblings by marriage.” It appears that someone who is not also the issue of Dead Friend’s parents can’t take directly from Dead Friend.

You move on to sub (6) which is any surviving grandparents and heirs of the grandparents.

Edit: But Omar is also correct. The timing of Friend & Sister’s deaths would be relevant.

Friend, Lee, died first. Viola, (sister) died second.

Now the fact that Viola had not moved to claim Lee’s ‘estate’, does that rule out her husband and her son. Lee had no children or spouse. (not even an ex)

Are you managing this or is a lawyer? Sounds to me like a lawyer should be handling it.

(not yelling at you rachellelogram)


I shouldn’t have to do a thing here but people turn to me for the answers. IF this is going to happen I’m going to have tie the whole thing up with a pretty bow and hand it to them.

I gave the nephew the information back when Lee died. He did nothing with it. I really don’t care. it’s no skin off my back if he doesn’t want free money for the next 75 years that’s up to him.

I just want to know what to tell the nephew so he can do this as easily as possible so I don’t have to deal with this any more.

Is the money enough to even pay for an attorney?

Since you have (apparently) no legal standing to be involved, you probably can’t just have it sent to you for your own benefit.

In fact, since you have no legal standing, I doubt the publisher would pay any attention to anything you say.

Good news! There is nothing more you can do. Quit the game.

Walk away.