Klenk Law

Dying Without a Will in Chester County, PA, and how it effects stepchildren

Posted on Mon Oct 27, 2014, on Intestacy, Dying Without a Will

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Dying Without a Will Stepchild Intestate Succession Chester County, PA

Most Recently Update July 7, 2018

“If I die a widow without a will in Chester County, Pennsylvania, will my step-children inherit any of my estate or only my own children?”

Dying Without a Will Stepchild Intestate Succession Chester County

Dying Without a Will Stepchild Intestate Succession Chester County

If you die without a will in Pennsylvania you are said to die “intestate”. If you die intestate, your probate assets are divided up under the Pennsylvania Intestate Rules. These rules can easily be avoided by writing a will, but if you do not have a will, the Intestacy Rules are in place to clearly state who inherits your probate property in order to avoid conflict.

In your case, you are an unmarried person with children. If all of your biological children are living when you die, they will equally divide up your probate estate. Your step-children will inherit nothing through the intestacy rules unless you legally adopted them as your own children.

Remember, these rules apply to the “probate assets”. Many of your assets might pass outside of probate, such as:

  • Life Insurance
  • IRAs
  • Transfer on Death Accounts
  • Joint Accounts

At your death these non-probate assets pass to the person you have named as the beneficiary or joint owner. If you have named your step-children as a beneficiary or a joint owner of one of your assets then your step-children will receive something at your death.

Other Advice

Whenever there is a blended family, such as yours, it is a good idea to have a will that plainly states your wishes. This can reduce the chances of conflict, confusion, suspicion and bad feelings between your children and step-children following your death.

More Planning Questions?

Intestate succession is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.

In Conclusion:

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining intestate succession limitations. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!

Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers.  By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!

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Chester County, Estate Planning, Estate Planning Attorney, Estate Planning Lawyer, Intestate, Intestate Succession, Pennsylvania, Rules of Intestacy

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