From Our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Do my husband’s parents inherit his estate? “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?”
When a Pennsylvania resident dies without a Will, they are said to die “intestate.” The Commonwealth has put into place rules to cover who inherits your estate if you die without a Will. These “default” rules are the “Rules of Intestacy.” While there is no legal obligation to include your parents in your Will, if you die without a Will the Rules of Intestacy might require that your parents receive some, or all, of your assets.
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. In this case, 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, your husband’s 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.
Contact our office for a free consultation if you have further questions about Intestate Estates or the Rules of Intestacy, or any other issues about Probate.
Wills, Trusts and Probate, and Estate Litigation it’s all we do!
Peter Klenk, Esq.