Bensalem, PA asked in Real Estate Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania

Q: My father in law died in Oct. He owned a home had a life insurance policy and a union pension. No will help?

My father in law died in Oct. He owned a home had a life insurance policy and a union pension. He had no will in PA. We are having trouble getting information about the policy, deed for the home, actually ever thing we try is an issue we only have a death certificate. Need probate I believe but not sure please some advice on how to go about getting the pension, life insurance, and or deed for the home would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

5 Lawyer Answers
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Where there is no will, the PA statutes explain, in detail, who will be the "heirs at law" who inherit a decedent's property.

Whenever real estate is involved, unless it is held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, and the co-owner survives, a probate is necessary to clear the title of record. Without a will, a personal representative of the decedent's estate, call an Administrator, or Administratrix, will be appointed by the probate court. It's not difficult to do, and once done, the representative will be issue Letters, showing the court's authority for him/her to take possession of, and deal with, all of the decedent's property, as well as claim life insurance proceeds (if the decedent named his estate as the beneficiary).. The same applies to pension rights, and every other kind of property in which the decedent held an interest.

Steven J. Fromm agrees with this answer

Elizabeth Tarasi
Elizabeth Tarasi
Answered
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: You will need to open an estate. You may contact me at emt@tarasilaw.com you’ll need to open the estate, name an administrator, get short certificates, advertise the estate, file the necessary probate forms, sell/transfer title of the property, file an inheritance tax return and pay the inheritance tax. You see there are quite a few steps in the process.

Steven J. Fromm agrees with this answer

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko
Answered
  • Allentown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: You need to engage a lawyer and open an estate.

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: My fellow attorneys here offer sound advice. The only point to add is that due to Covid -19 many of the Register of Wills offices have either special or emergency procedures for getting an estate probated. You should probably retain an estates attorney to assist you.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wormleysburg, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: since your father in law died without a Will the first question is whether mother in law is still alive. if she is still alive then she is likely the beneficiary on the pension and life insurance and those companies should talk to her once she provides them with a death certificate. if mother in law predeceased then your husband should be able to talk to the companies but may have to provide them with copy of mother's death certificate as well. if there was a divorce they may require a divorce decree . you can get a copy of the Deed at the Recorder of Deeds Office in the county where the house is located. You can get a copy online in most counties in PA with either the owner name or street address or tax parcel #. If mother in law is deceased or divorced eventually your husband (and/or his siblings) will have to open an estate administration to transfer or sell the house and pay the PA inheritance tax. He and/or his siblings should consult with an experienced estates attorney for assistance in this matter.

Steven J. Fromm agrees with this answer

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