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Can the Government Take My Money After I Die in New York?

The specific laws for inheritance differ from state to state, and New York approaches this matter in its own unique way. If you are approaching the estate planning process for the first time, you might be wondering what kind of role the government actually plays in your inheritance. How much money can they take from you after you pass away? What about inheritance taxes in New York? Is it theoretically possible for the government to take away all of your money after you pass away?

These are all perfectly valid questions, and it makes sense to consult with an expert if you want answers. An estate planning attorney can explain this entire process to you in a clear, concise manner. Not only that, but they can guide you through the next stages of your estate planning process. With the help of an experienced, qualified estate planning attorney, you can ensure that you are handling your estate in the best way possible.

Estate Taxes

The most obvious way in which the government can take your money after your passing is through an estate tax. While New York does not have an inheritance tax, it does charge an estate tax. It is important to note that this is an additional tax combined with federal estate taxes. If you pass away with a relatively small amount of wealth, the estate tax should not affect your beneficiaries much. On the other hand, if you pass away with a net worth of more than $5.93 million, significant tax charges can be expected.

Intestate Succession

You may be concerned about the possibility of the government taking your money if you pass away without leaving a will. If you pass away without a will, the government will first go through the intestate succession process. What this means is that they will follow a set formula that ensures your relatives receive your wealth.

If you have a surviving spouse, they will receive the entire estate. If you have a surviving spouse and children, your spouse will receive half and your children will receive the other half. If you have children and no surviving spouse, your children will receive your entire estate. The intestate process can get quite complicated depending on which family members are alive at the time of your passing. For example, if you die with no spouses or children, the estate will go to your parents. If your parents are deceased, the estate will go to your siblings.

When Does Your Property Escheat?

You have probably never heard the term “escheat” before - probably because it describes an incredibly rare situation. If you pass away with zero family members, your property will escheat into the state’s coffers. This means that the government will indeed take all of your money. However, the state of New York will work incredibly hard to find any family member who is still alive. This means that your wealth would go to a niece, great-niece, an aunt, or even a half-relative before the government finally takes ownership of the property.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you would like to learn more about these matters, reach out to a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney at your earliest convenience. The Glassman Law Group has considerable experience with estate planning, and we understand the specific inheritance laws and regulations in New York. Book a consultation today, and we can help you begin the estate planning process with confidence and efficiency.


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