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What happens to your estate if you die without a will?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2017 | Estate Planning And Administration

It is a question that you have likely heard asked by estate planning experts in Greensburg multiple times: have you written a will? Why would such a document carry so much importance that you should consider creating one while your end still seems to be so far away? The truth is that you do not know when you will die, and not having a will when you do takes the power to decide who will receive the assets and property that you have worked so hard to accumulate away from you and hands it over to the state.

Pennsylvania state law has clearly defined guidelines over who gets what from your estate should you die intestate (without a will). The first in line to inherit your assets is your spouse. If you were preceded in death by your parents, and you have no surviving issue (children or grandchildren), your spouse will receive your entire estate. If you do have children that are also the issue of your surviving spouse, then he or she receives the first $30,000 of your estate, and then half of its remaining balance (the other half is divided up equally amongst your children or grandchildren). The same is true if you have no children, but your spouse and your parents are still alive. If your children are not the issue of your surviving spouse, your estate is split equally between the two sides.

If you do not have a surviving spouse, the entirety of your estate passes on in the following order:

  •          Issue
  •          Parents
  •          Siblings (or their issue)
  •          Grandparents
  •          Aunts and uncles (or their issue)

In the rare event that you have no surviving relations, your assets will then be given to the Commonwealth.