Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

My mother passed away and her husband is the beneficiary she had no estate and told me she had no will. My mom was very good at those things so it could be a lie. But all she left was a $50,000 insurance policy. I'm her only child. He is not my biological father but married her in 2009 but has been with us for 41 yes. Am I entitled to any of her money. I've read things that say 2/3 but I'm very confused. He refuses to tell me anything. Please give me a answer so I know what to do. Thank you Steve

Asked on 5/02/16, 1:12 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

No unless you are named as a beneficiary on the life insurance policy.

There is a difference between probate and no-probate assets. Things like life insurance are non-probate which means that they pass to the named designated beneficiary whoever that is. If there is no beneficiary, then an estate must be opened. In that case, since your mother had no will, assets would be split between her husband and her children. If there is a spouse and one child, the net assets are split 50/50, but if there are 2 or more children of a deceased, then net assets are split 1/3rd to spouse and 2/3rd to children. If there are no assets other than personal effects (your mother's clothes, jewelry and such) then that would be split in the same percentages.

Since you are confused, I think you need to pay for a consult with a probate attorney who practices in the county/state where your mother lived at the time of her death. It does not matter how long your mother was married to husband - unless they had a prenuptial agreement or made some other arrangement (like a will) then he is going to be entitled to a share in whatever assets your mother had. If he is named as beneficiary of the life insurance then he will get that too. But you need to find out whether an estate has been probated or needs to be probated and what all you are entitled to.

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Answered on 5/04/16, 11:54 pm

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