Who takes over your estate when you pass on without an estate plan in Pennsylvania? Legally, this is referred to as dying intestate. Every state has put in place an intestate succession law or statute to handle this situation.
These laws are meant to protect the surviving spouse or children. Here is how a deceased’s estate is distributed when someone dies intestate in Pennsylvania
When the deceased has no surviving children
A surviving spouse is entitled to 100% of the deceased estate if the deceased has no surviving children or parents. However, if the deceased is survived by a spouse and one or both parents, the spouse will be entitled to the estate’s first $30,000 as well as 50% of the remaining estate.
When the deceased has surviving children
If the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, all of whom belong to the surviving spouse too, the surviving spouse will be entitled to the estate’s first $30,000 as well as 50% of the remaining estate. However, if at least one of the surviving children is not a biological child of the deceased, then the surviving spouse will only be entitled to 50% of the estate.
When the deceased has no surviving spouse
Now, what happens when the deceased is not survived by a spouse, or when the surviving spouse is not entitled to anything? In such cases, Pennsylvania Intestate Succession law provides for the distribution of the estate as follows:
- Siblings and their children
- Extended family
- The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
If you think estate planning is just for the rich and famous, you are definitely wrong. An estate plan enables you to decide your estate’s fate when you are no longer around. An experienced advocate can walk you through the process of writing an estate plan so you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets will be distributed as per your wishes when you are gone.