Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

My paternal grandmother recently passed away, and left my father (also deceased) a share of her estate in her will. Can I claim his portion of the estate as his heir?

Asked on 2/20/13, 7:23 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

The answer really depends what your grandmother's and father's will state. Well written wills usually provide contingencies if someone predeceases the decedent. If this did not happen in your grandmother's will, the assets would pass to your father's estate and then according to his will. I strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney and have him or her analyze the wills and your situation. There are procedures and taxes to pay, so you really should hire an attorney. Feel free to contact me at 215-367-5110. Regards, Scott Polsky

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Answered on 2/20/13, 7:44 am

As noted, it depends. It depends on what your grandmother's will says and it depends on the order in which your father and grandmother died.

If your grandmother's will was properly drafted by an attorney, it should specify what happens to the share of any of her children who died before her. In such case, the property would go as specified. If your father died before the grandmother and if her will is silent, then under the PA anti-lapse statute (assuming your grandmother lived there at the time of her death), your father's children would inherit his share. Otherwise, your father's share might pass via the intestacy laws to the intestate heirs of your grandmother. You would probably inherit that way too if it got to that point but a lawyer would really need to look at the laws and the will.

If your grandmother died before your father and the will contained no special time limits on survival, then your father's share of the assets would pass to your father's estate. In such case, it would be distributed as per your father's will in accordance with the laws of the state where he lived at the time of his death. If he had no will, then his share would pass via intestacy. Usually, the state intestacy laws provide that assets go to any surviving spouse and biological/adopted children.

While you may want to take Attorney Polsky up on his offer, I know there are other local probate attorneys in the Pittsburgh area if that is where the estate of your grandmother will be probated. If not, then your best bet would be to contact a probate attorney who practices in the same county/state where the estate will be probated. While state laws are presumably uniform, probate practice may vary in each county and it is best to get somebody familiar with the local practice and procedure if you are going to be more involved in the estate administration.

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Answered on 2/20/13, 9:50 am

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