If you pass away without a will in Pensylvania, also known as dying intestate, the state’s laws will determine who receives what portions of your assets. According to Pennsylvania’s intestate succession statute, the disposition of your property largely depends on whether you have any children or a surviving spouse.

In certain cases, the law may also provide for your other relatives. Only in rare circumstances will your estate assets go to the Commonwealth.

What if my spouse survives me but I have no children?

 If you die and your children or parents do not survive you, your spouse will receive all of your estate property. But if your parents are still alive, your spouse will receive the $30,000 and one-half of the value of the remaining balance of the estate. The rest of the share will go to your parents.

What if both my children and spouse survive me?

 What your children get depends on whether your spouse also survives you – and whether the children. If your spouse who is also the parent of your children survives you, your spouse will get $30,000 and one-half of the remaining balance of the estate with the rest going to your kids. But if at least one of your children survives you and is not the child of your spouse, your spouse will only get half of your estate.

What if I have no surviving spouse?

 If you do not have a surviving spouse, the law prioritizes your parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and grandchildren. Only if none of these people survive you will your assets go to the state government.

This estate planning information is solely educational and should not be taken as legal advice.