What happens if I pass with no estate plan in place in Pennsylvania?

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Many people do not like to think about death, as it is an unpleasant and morbid topic, leaving many feeling upset and scared. Unfortunately, taking the time to consider what will happen to your belongings following death is critical. However, many procrastinate this pass away with no estate plan in place. This can make things incredibly difficult for your loved ones, so the following blog explores what you must know about the importance of planning for your passing.  You’ll also discover how Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys can assist you during this complicated legal process.

Why do people avoid estate planning?

There are many reasons why people may avoid taking the time to plan their estate. As mentioned, thinking about death can be upsetting for many, and planning an estate solidifies that you are planning for your own death. As such, many avoid this process simply because it is unpleasant and morbid to think about.

Another reason many procrastinate this process is because it can be complex and time-consuming. This process can be in-depth, so it may seem easier to avoid it. Many justify this by claiming they cannot take time out of their busy schedule to start estate planning.

Finally, there is a misconception that only the wealthy can benefit from estate planning, which is far from the truth. In general, anyone who owns any property should consider this process, as it ensures your wishes are met and your beneficiaries are cared for.

If I have no estate plan, what will happen to my assets?

If you have no estate plan established when you pass away, your estate will be declared intestate. All estates, regardless of whether or not there is a will, must go through probate. This process oversees the distribution of assets. However, when you die in intestacy, the state will take over the distribution of your assets according to Pennsylvania’s law of succession.

Generally, if you pass without a will, the following will occur based on your living relatives:

  • Children but no spouse: Your children inherit the estate
  • Spouse but no living parents or children: Your spouse inherits the estate
  • Spouse and children you have with that spouse: Your spouse inherits the first $30,000 of your estate and half the balance, while your descendants receive the rest
  • Spouse and parents: Your spouse inherits the first $30,000 of your estate and half the balance, while your parents inherit the remainder of the estate
  • Spouse and children from another relationship: Your spouse will receive half of the estate, while your children split the other half.

As you can see, there are many implications when you pass away without a will or estate plan in Pennsylvania, as someone who may not want to receive an inheritance could be entitled to one. That’s why working with an experienced estate planning attorney is essential, as you can take control of your assets to ensure your wishes are met upon your death.

When you’re ready to start planning your estate, Friedman Schuman is ready to help. We understand how complex this legal process can be, which is why we’re committed to doing everything in our power to make sure you understand your options so you can make an informed, confident decision. Contact us today to discuss the details of your circumstances.

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