Many divorced adults in New York end up having a second or third marriage. Without a well-planned will, the estate may be contested especially if there are children from a prior marriage. Heirs may fight over the inheritance of the new spouse.

Justia.com details the property distribution upon death of a spouse without a will. After the expenses of the funeral, debts and administration fees have been deducted, the remaining amount left in the estate everything goes to the living spouse provided there are no children. However, if there are children, the living spouse only receives $50,000 then half of whatever is left. The children receive the rest.

Another issue addressed by codes.findlaw.com is the issue of estate administration. Adult children from a prior marriage may contest the new spouse’s administration of the estate. As the surviving spouse, the children from prior marriages fall behind the new spouse. The children may petition the court for right to handle the estate administration. The court can grant equal rights to distribution.

Without a will or trust, the surviving family members may dispute the standard of the law. The more heirs left behind, the more problems they may face upon the death of their loved one. Substantial estates with large amounts of money face even more likelihood of someone contesting and prolonging the distribution of the estate.

It is best to reevaluate the end of life preparations such as wills and trusts upon remarrying to save heirs the hassle of contesting the estate. A little pre-planning can help loved ones know the wishes of the deceased.