Losing a spouse is already difficult enough. However, if they did not have an estate plan, you could find yourself facing even more struggles ahead.
You need to grow familiar with intestate succession, and how your marriage will affect the division of assets and property in your spouse’s estate.
If your spouse has no surviving parents or descendants
The Pennsylvania General Assembly discusses that what a surviving spouse receives depends on numerous factors. If your spouse had no parents or descendants, then you might end up receiving the entire estate.
If your spouse has surviving relatives
On the other hand, if your spouse has no descendants but surviving parents, you may receive half of the balance of the estate as well as the first $30,000.
You could receive this same amount in the event that your spouse had descendants who are also yours. If your spouse had descendants who were children with other people, you may still have an entitlement to half of the estate.
However, it is important to understand that in matters of intestate succession, each estate is different. Each estate will have unique issues and potential problems, and they will require a unique way of approaching the matter and solving these issues.
This is often difficult, especially in the wake of something as emotional as the loss of a spouse. It is also why so many people need guidance through this time in a legal sense. Having that understanding of what will come next can alleviate some of the stress associated with handling intestate estate matters.