What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Pennsylvania?

It is important that you draft an estate plan in order to make sure that you do not end up in a situation where you pass without a will. Reach out to our skilled Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys today to assure that you and your future are protected.

What happens if I die without writing a will in Pennsylvania?

If you die without a will in Pennsylvania, you are deemed to have died “intestate.” Your “intestate estate” is made up of all property that is not disposed of by will or otherwise. Certain property, due to its nature or form of ownership, will not be included in your intestate estate and will be transferred outside of the intestacy statutory scheme. For example, any property that is owned jointly will automatically pass to the remaining joint owners.

Who will inherit my property?

If you are survived by any heirs, your assets will be distributed as follows:

  • No Children or Parents Survive: In this situation, your surviving spouse will inherit the entire intestate estate.
  • Children Survive: If you are survived by children (if they are all the children of your spouse), then your spouse will receive the first $30,000, plus one-half (1/2) of the balance. On the other hand, if one or more of your surviving children are not the issue of your spouse, then your spouse will receive just one-half (1/2) of the intestate estate. For instance, if you die with a $100,000 intestate estate and all surviving children are an issue of your spouse, he or she will receive $65,000 (i.e., the first $30,000, plus ½ of the remaining $70,000). If one or more of your children is not the issue of your spouse, he or she will receive only $50,000 (i.e., one-half of the intestate estate). Your children will receive the remainder.
  • One or Both Parents Survive: If you are survived by one or both of your parents, but no children, then your spouse will receive the first $30,000, plus one-half (1/2) of the balance of the intestate estate. For example, if you die with a $100,000 intestate estate, your spouse will receive $65,000 (i.e., $30,000, plus ½ of the remaining $70,000). Your parent(s) will receive the remaining $35,000.

If you have no surviving spouse, your estate will be divided in the following order:

  • To your children and grandchildren. If none survive you, then the surviving parent.
  • If no parent survives you, then to the siblings, nieces, and nephews of your parents.
  • If no sibling, niece, or nephew survives you, then to your grandparents. The assets will be distributed as half to your paternal grandparents and a half to your maternal grandparents.
  • If no grandparent survives you, then to your uncles, aunts, and cousins.
  • Lastly, if none of your family survives you, then your estate will automatically go to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED PENNSYLVANIA FIRM

Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. We proudly serve clients facing a wide range of legal matters. If you require the services of an effective attorney, please contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.

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