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What inheritance rights does a surviving spouse have in New York?

Absent a premarital agreement or other marital waiver, a surviving spouse is entitled to the greater of $50,000.00 or one-third of the deceased spouse's net probate estate provided that the deceased spouse passed away with a Will. If the deceased spouse passed away without a Will, then the surviving spouse is entitled to either all of the deceased spouse's net probate estate or at minimum half of it, depending on which of the deceased spouse's heirs are still living. This share is separate and apart from any of the household items, called exempt property, that are not counted as part of the deceased spouse's net probate estate go directly to the surviving spouse, provided that all children or the marriage are twenty-one (21) years old or older.



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