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In New York, the owner of a co-op receives shares of stock according to his or her percentage interest in the co-op. In order to determine if the interest in the co-op will pass to the decedent's beneficiaries, the shares of stock in the co-op that were issued to your late mother will have to be reviewed. When an individual passes away without a will, the law says that they passed away "intestate". In these situations, the descendents of the decedent share equally. Under normal circumstances, shares of stock will go to the intestate beneficiaries of the decedent. However, in a co-op situation, the co-op might have provided that the shares owned by a decedent would first be offered to the co-op before, similar to a "Right of first Refusal" before the shares would be given to the decedent's beneficiaries. If the co-op documents provide that the co-op association has a right of first refusal, then the co-op will pay for the co-op and the money would then be distributed to the intestate beneficiaries.
Since each co-op can have its own rules, you will have to look at the documents that were given to your late mother when she bought the co-op in order to determine if the co-op association has the right of first refusal. If the association has the right of first refusal and it decides to exercise that right, it will pay the fair market value of the co-op shares to the estate and then the proceeds can be divided among the intestate beneficiaries equally.
If there is no right of first refusal in the co-op association, then the co-op will go to all the beneficiaries of the decedent. It can either be sold and the proceeds divided equally among the intestate heirs of the decedent, or if one heir has the money to buy the co-op interest, then the proceeds of the sale will be divided among the beneficiaries.
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