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No Will, Trust..What Happens?

Luff Strenfel LLP Oct. 1, 2018

Estate Planning with A Will or Trust Is a Must for All Responsible Adults.

When you evaluate survey results, you find that most people are not prepared for something that is definitely going to happen. Unfortunately, some people pass away without a will or a trust, so their wishes are not known.

If you were to pass away without a will or a trust, the condition of intestacy would be the result. The way the property would be distributed would depend on a number of factors. Property that was in your direct and sole personal possession at the time of your passing would become probate property at first. The probate court would sort things out, and a personal representative would be appointed to administer the estate. Creditors could come forward during the probate process seeking satisfaction. Once final debts were paid, the court would use the intestate succession laws of the state of Pennsylvania to transfer assets to your closest relative or relatives.

There is a particular pecking order that is used when an intestacy case is being handled. In Pennsylvania, if there were children surviving but no surviving spouse, the children would inherit all of the probate property. If there was a surviving spouse but no children or parents, the surviving spouse would inherit everything.

In many cases there is a surviving spouse and children from the decedent and that surviving spouse. Under these circumstances, the surviving spouse would inherit the first $30,000 and half of the remainder, and the children would inherit the rest.

These are a few examples, but the intestate succession laws address every different scenario.

Each family is different, and the optimal course of action will vary on a case-by-case basis. If you or your loved ones do not have a Will or Trust established, contact our office. We always offer a 100% Free Consultation and can help take the worry our of Estate Planning.