Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Law in the Media

View All

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.

New York Kinship Hearing

How to Succeed at a Kinship Hearing

When an individual passes away and does not have a valid will prior to their death, an estate administrator will be appointed. The estate administrator’s job will be to distribute the assets of the decedent’s estate to their heirs according to the laws of New York covering intestate succession. Determining Heirs If the decedent has a surviving spouse, parents, children, grandchildren or another type of close relative, then identifying the heirs can be a simple process. Things can get complicated if a decedent only has distant relatives. An estate administrator will have to have proof of kinship to the decedent prior to distributing funds to them. This is done with a proceeding known as a kinship hearing. Legal Definition Of Blood Relative At a kinship hearing, individuals claiming to be related to the decedent will be required to provide evidence they are a blood relative. The definition of a blood relative is found in New York Estate, Power, and Trusts laws. Blood relatives include cousins, children, nephews, grandchildren, nieces, parents, aunts, siblings as well as uncles. An adopted child can be treated the same as a biological child unless another family adopts them. Stepchildren and foster children are not considered biological children according to New York Estate, Power, and Trusts laws. They are not legally entitled to a share of a decedent’s assets. Should the decedent have fathered a child with a woman whom he was not married then paternity must be established. When this is done, the child will be entitled to a share of the decedent’s assets. Kinship Hearing In New York, a kinship hearing is held at a local Surrogate’s Court. During the procedure, individuals will be required to provide testimony while under oath. It is possible for a kinship hearing to be held before a court attorney as well as a judge. This is determined by the county where the kinship hearing is being held. There are other parties that can be present during the proceedings. This could include a representative from the New York Attorney General’s office as well as a Guardian Ad Litem. An attorney for the administrator can also attend. During a kinship hearing, the regular New York rules of evidence apply. It is possible for the hearing to last several days or longer. This will depend on the complexity of the case. Burden Of Proof During a kinship hearing, it is the person claiming to be a decedent who has the burden of proof. This is accomplished by a preponderance of the evidence provided to the judge or court attorney who is presiding over the hearing. In certain situations, a claimant will need to provide certified documents to support their accusation concerning a family tree. This could include death certificates, birth certificates and more. It is also done by establishing a person’s pedigree in the form of oral testimony. Some claimant’s hire qualified genealogists and other professionals to make their case during a kinship hearing. All claims of the oral testimony must be corroborated with proper documentation when possible. During most legal hearings, this type of testimony is considered hearsay and not permitted. In some cases, testimony evidence may be the only available first-hand evidence able to be provided. The New York hearsay law has an exception for pedigree information provided during this type of hearing. Admissibility Of Oral Testimony One limitation to oral testimony at a kinship hearing is a person interested in obtaining assets from an estate is forbidden from testifying about any type of communication or transaction they had with the decedent prior to the decedent’s death. They are not legally permitted to testify about any type of correspondence or conversation that occurred between them. Testimony Of Disinterested Parties People who will not inherit anything following a kinship hearing are permitted to testify during the hearing. It is possible for these individuals to provide testimony that is admissible pertaining to a conversation between the decedent and a claimant. This includes a decedent’s close friends or relatives not involved with the hearing and more. Some people anticipate a kinship hearing to be a simple matter of going to court and stating under oath how they’re related to the decedent. In many cases, these hearings can become complicated and confusing. That is why it’s important to discuss such a hearing with the knowledgeable attorneys at Raiser & Kenniff, PC. They have valuable experience with kinship hearings and know what is required to succeed at them.

Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!