If a person dies without a Will, called intestate, the state statutes determine who will inherit. It doesn't just go to the state, but it might also not go to those who the deceased might have wanted to receive their property had they done a Will. It is common for people to disinherit their children for one reason or another.
If you die without a will each state has a set of laws called intestacy that states who receives your property. While it may not automatically pass to the state, if there are no close relations this is a possibility, called escheat. So, even if one has limited financial assets a will should be executed and use one prepared by an attorney.
In most states you have the right to disinherit children absent court order (i.e., a court could order as part of divorce or support proceedings that you obtain life insurance or leave a certain percentage to your children).
1. Intestate laws determines the distribution of assets of decedent without a will.
Best to have a lawyer assist you in drafting a will.
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Answer # 1 NO
Answer # 2 YES
If you die without a will, your estate passes through NY's intestacy statute which delineates what family members inherit. For example if you die with no spouse and kids, your kids would inherit. No kids, if parents still alive, they would inherit. Then it goes out to siblings, cousins etc. etc.
There is no law that says you can can't disinherit your children. However, if you do so, you should realize that the children have standing to contest the will. The only way to successfully contest the will would be if the children could prove that you were not competent to make a will or that you were unduly influenced by some third party or that the will was not properly made and executed according to NY's statute of wills. You wont be here to testify so make your reasons known to your attorney and make some affirmative statement in your will that you intentionally make no provision for your children.
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