From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Intestacy; Dying Without a Will
Most Recently Updated August 8, 2018.
“My husband died without a Will in Chester County, PA. He owned real estate and had several accounts in his name alone. He had no children, but his parents are both alive. Do my husband’s parents inherit his estate?”
Intestacy; Dying Without a Will.
When a person dies without a Will, they have died “intestate.” Each state has specific rules dividing a person’s assets if they die without a Will. These rules differ from state-to-state. For example, compare the Pennsylvania Intestacy Rules to the New Jersey Intestacy Rules.
Your husband could have avoided these default rules using a Will. For example, there is no legal obligation to include parents in a Pennsylvania Will, so he could have easily excluded his parents from his estate.
When You Die Without A Will In Pennsylvania The Rules Of Intestacy Determine Your Heirs.
Your husband died without a Will, without children, married but with surviving parents. Applying the Pennsylvania Intestacy Rules to those facts, you as his spouse receive the first $30,000 plus one-half of the remaining intestate estate. His parents divide the remaining one-half share. So, if your husband’s probate estate exceeds $30,000 his parents inherit a portion of his estate.
File A Petition For Administration.
You may open your spouse’s estate by filing a Petition for Administration. In your case, it will be deposited with the Chester County Register of Wills. As the surviving spouse, you will be considered first to serve as the Administrator. But, you must notify your in-laws. They could choose to challenge your serving as Administrator. You would be wise to retain an experienced Probate Attorney. Be prepared; your in-laws will have the right to object to every action you take. They can question every expense incurred. As your Probate Lawyer, I would advise you to keep them informed of the process and to obtain liability releases before distributing any assets.
See my website for more detailed information about the Chester County Probate Process.
More Probate Questions?
Intestate succession is only part of the overall probate process. By all means, if you wish to learn more, please read my more detailed article, The Probate Process All You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Intestacy; Dying Without a Will
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining Intestacy and Dying Without a Will. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Probate Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced Probate Attorneys. 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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