Provided that the will is valid, the will's provisions control probate assets, but the surviving spouse will have a right to elect against the will if he or she wishes to do so. Please note that the will does not control assets that were held as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" or contract assets (such as life insurance policies) which named beneficiaries other than the individual's estate. Please consult with a Pennsylvania lawyer to discuss the estate administration, as well as to represent your interests. Good luck to you.
This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.
Mr. Pankowski has provided outstanding information, In these types of situations, it is important for all potential beneficiaries to understand the probate process and the wishes of the loved one as identified in the will. Having qualified counsel can be of great benefit.
My office handles estate administration matters on a regular basis.
F. Dean Morgan, Esquire
The Morgan Law Firm
150 W. Chocolate Ave.
Hershey, Pa 17033
My colleagues are correct. The properly executed Will defines the disbursement of any probate assets, non-probate assets, such as life insurance, will go to the beneficiaries of those assets, and a local attorney can assist you in preparing a Will to best meet your wishes. I think you are asking about the intestacy rules, which come into play when someone dies without a Will. Good luck!
Anastatia Quirk Ellis, Esq. is licensed to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts and U.S. Tax Court, This answer is provided as general information and does not initiate an attorney-client relationship. You can reach The Law Offices of Anastatia Quirk Ellis, P.A. at 813-625-0222.