New York has what is referred to as an “anti-lapse statute.” This anti-lapse statute mechanism was designed to prevent a gift under a will from lapsing. The lapse of legacy applies to siblings and issue (children or grandchildren). So if the testator of a Long Island will bequests all the testator’s assets to her two children, and one child predeceases the testator, that beneficiary’s inheritance will go to the beneficiary’s children or grandchildren. However, when the beneficiary is someone other than the testator’s children or siblings, such as a friend or a cousin of the testator, the gift/bequest will lapse.
Many times there is confusion when a beneficiary dies before the testator. There may be an unclear provision in the will regarding the intent of the testator. Since most family members are not familiar with the provisions under the anti-lapse statute, they will hire a Long Island probate and estate attorney to assist them with the matter.
The Nassau County or Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court has jurisdiction to construe the testator’s intent by looking at the entire will’s language. The Court may also look at any supporting documentation and/or hear witness testimony to help them make a final ruling.
Hiring a Long Island Probate and Estate Attorney
If you are involved in a Long Island anti-lapse statute matter or need assistance with other probate and estate matters, you should contact a Long Island probate and estate attorney to represent you. A Long Island probate and estate attorney also represents estates, executors, beneficiaries, creditors and other interested parties to an estate.
If you wish to speak to a Long Island estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (516) 777-0647.