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What happens if a will is never probated?

Scranton, PA |

So here's the story. A few years ago my parents passed away, leaving the house to my three siblings. I took my share and gave up rights to the house to my two brothers. Both of them lived there for several years, and two years ago my older brother passed away. I know he had a will, but it was never on record. Now my younger brother got married shortly after, and has not probated the will.

My questions are:
If the will is never probated, what will happen?
What would happen if the will said my older brothers part of the house was left to me/my children, but he never probated it?

Thank you.

Also... If my brother were to pass away, and never probate it, what would happen?

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Attorney answers 2


I don't practice in PA, but this is a basic question of estate law.

If the Will is never probated, then the estate will be handled as if there was never any Will. That means the rules and laws of Intestacy will apply to the case. That means that the state of PA dictates who gets what under the circumstances of each case.

I strongly suggest you consult with a local attorney and seek direct advice from him/her about your specific matter.

Good luck.


This situation will become more complicated as time goes by. When this property is ultimately attempted to be sold to a third party, the will at that point will need to be probated. The only person that can transfer this real estate is the executor of the last parent (assuming the property is held jointly) and to do that the executor needs to have the legal authority to do so by submitting the will to probate. You would then have to probate your late brother's will to transfer his interest in the property and so on to get this thing cleaned up.
My suggestion to you is to get an experienced estate planner to help you clean up this mess before it gets completely out of control. Finally, I hope you still have the original will.
(If you can not find an experienced estate attorney in Scranton who knows what to do here, do not hesitate to contact me. I would be glad to help.

Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties and services clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 215-735-2336 or at the email address listed below. He is rated as an AV Preminent attorney from Lexis-Nexis Martindale Hubbell having the received the highest possble rating in legal ability and ethical standards. In addition, he has received a 10.0 rating from AVVO and recently was featured as a 5Star Wealth Manager in the Philadelphia Magazine, November 2009 issue on page 123.
Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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