My mother and father divorced when I was approx. 4 yrs. old. My father married again, but never had any other children. He recently passed away. What are my rights to any property/estate that he may have had, and what do I need to do to start the process to claim what I may be entitled to?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Someone needs to open an estate, that could be you, if there is no will then the Pennsylvania laws of intestacy will control the distribution. See a local lawyer.
First, did he have a will? If he did then that controls the dispersal of his estate if there isn't a will then the intestacy laws control.
Sorry to hear about your loss. As Mr. Davidson said, if he had a Will, then that would control who administers the estate and who receives what.
If he had no Will, then you and any siblings you might have would equally share in your father's estate according to Pennsylvania's intestacy laws. I presume your father was a Pennsylvania resident at the time he passed. It is his residence that controls where the probate occurs, not your residency.
The next step would be to seek an administration for your father's estate. You can try doing this yourself by going to the local Orphan's Court or you can seek legal counsel for help.
Don't forget that there will be a 4.5% inheritance tax, so you want to move quickly to pay that to avoid penalties and late fees.
Kevin A. Pollock, J.D., LL.M.
P: (609) 818-1555
Licensed to practice law in Florida, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
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