The Rights of Succession Inheriting Your Own Stake in the Family Co-op

It is not uncommon for a precious commodity such as season tickets to the Yankees, Giants or Knicks to be handed down from father to son or from grandfather to grandson. So, in today's marketplace, it's easy to see why an apartment owner would want their exclusive Manhattan real estate to be passed down from generation to generation.

That is where inheritance rights or the rights of succession come into play. And what rules the roost, so to speak, in that area, are the proprietary lease, bylaws, and the governing documents of the building, according to attorney Adam Finkelstein of the Manhattan-based law firm of Wagner, Davis and Gold, P.C.

Co-op Versus Condo

There are distinct differences in how succession works in co-op apartments compared to a condo, Finkelstein explains.

"In a condo, for the most part, a unit owner via their will or intestacy can pass down an apartment with very little restrictions - if any - by the board or managers," says Finkelstein. "In a co-op, you're in a whole different world. In a co-op, obviously, a person living in an apartment is just a tenant of the building and they happen to be a shareholder of the corporation that owns the building, so you have to look to the proprietary lease and bylaws - the governing documents of the corporation - to determine who can take over an apartment."

In most cases, Finkelstein says, the proprietary lease will allow a spouse - husband or wife - to take over the apartment of a deceased spouse, even when that person is not named on the stock certificates. Generally, he says, a wife can take over a deceased husband's apartment because the standard proprietary lease usually contains a provision that "no consent" is needed on behalf of a spouse or their children.


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  • I live in Trump Village Section 4, Inc (also known as Trump Village West). What kind of legal papers do I require in case something happens to me or my husband in order for my kids not to have any problems in becoming owners of my apartment. Your reply is greatly appreciated.
  • My mother lives in Trump Village Section 4, Inc (also known as Trump Village West). What kind of legal papers do i require in case something happens to her in order for her kids not to have any problems in becoming owners of her apartment. your reply is greatly appreciated. Thank You.
  • Via succesion rights the co op that I shared with my ex-husband is under my name. Since the carrying charges are based on income, is it possible for my current carrying charges to go down?
  • My hasband and I are owners of mitchel lama apartment.We are separated and going for divorse.Can I be aworded with exclusive ocupansy at mitchel lama apt?
  • my mom owns a coop in upper manhattan. shes payed it in full...she is now living with me..but wants her 2 grandaughter to stay at her coop while attending college. Coop Boards wants to sublet to the this necessary? Girls are in college and they will have to pay over $2750 of application fees/ move in fees/ move in deposit.
  • I am going thru a legal separation from my wife. i am on a waiting list for a mitchell lama studio. What do they require for proof I am separated from my wife and i will be the sole owner of the apartment?
  • My office condo has been on the market for seven years without selling, appraised value of $222,000- I would like to now donate this office to a local charity (501C3)- two of the other owners in this building claim their first right of refusal entitles them not to the appraised value but to my tax benefit value - any opinion?
  • I want to sell the coop I live in,in Queens NY. The property is in my late husbands name. There are no other relatives that can claim this property. How can I get the coop in my name so I can sell?
  • I have lived in a studio co-op apt., for 15 years, according to the wishes of my friend, who willed the studio apt to me with the condition that I pay the monthly maintenance & any carrying charges. Her only surviving sibbling past away last year. Now his son is writing letters to me thru his lawyer asking that he would like to come & see the apt., to see what condition the apt., is in. Is this legal? Those letters are sent by certified, RRR.
  • In my previous comments above. What can I do? & is it legal for them to do this? I I just rec'd letter from their attorney stating that they would like to see the apt. to see what shape the apt is in. The apt. belongs to the Estate. Is this legal?