In Pennsylvania, if an individual dies without a will, or if part of his assets are not disposed of by will, the state has laws about how that person’s assets will be divided. Those laws are called the laws of intestate succession. The following is a general guide. It is not to be considered a complete summary of the laws governing intestate succession.
Share of a Surviving Spouse
Generally, if an individual dies without a child or parent surviving them, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse. If there are no surviving children, but there is a parent or parents surviving, the spouse receives the first $30,000 plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate.
Shares of Others than Surviving Spouse
If there is a share of an estate to which the surviving spouse is not entitled, the Penslyvania Statute governing intestate succession provides for the following distribution scheme:
To the Children of the person who died without a will;
If no Children survive the person who died without a will, then his Parents;
If no Parent survives, then to brothers and sisters, or their children (neices and nephews of the person who died without a will);
If there are no surviving brothers and sisters or their surviving children, the Law directs the estate to be divided between the maternal and paternal grandparents or their surviving children or grandchildren;
If there are no surviving people in all of the classes listed above, the estate would then pass to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
As you can see, dying without a will can create a result that was not intended. Unless, you are satisfied with the results provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you should contact us to prepare a will for you.