You may assume that, since you and your spouse have lived in your house together for years, they will automatically earn rights over it when you pass on. Though, you may be sadly mistaken to hold this expectation. Continue reading to learn who inherits your house if your surviving spouse is not on the deed and how one of the experienced Butler County deed & property transfer attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can help it land in the right hands.
Who inherits my Pennsylvania home if my surviving spouse is not on the deed?
Plain and simple: if only your name appears on the deed for your Pennsylvania home, then it will not automatically pass to your surviving spouse. This is regardless of the number of years your surviving spouse has resided there, along with the home expenses they shared throughout your marriage.
Rather, upon your passing, your home may become part of your probate estate. This means that your home, and the rest of your estate, will be handled by a Pennsylvania probate court. Usually, your appointed executor will refer to your will and distribute your assets as directed. If you disclosed your desire to leave your home to your spouse, then your executor may do just that.
But if you did not establish a valid and enforceable will, then your home will go through Pennsylvania’s intestate process. The same applies if you forgot to include provisions for your home within your will. Unfortunately, this process may not have your surviving spouse be the first pick for inheriting your home.
How does intestate succession work in the state of Pennsylvania?
According to the state of Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws, the succession of ownership for your home, along with the rest of your estate, may go as follows:
- If you have a spouse but no descendants or parents: then your spouse may inherit your intestate property.
- If you have a spouse and descendants from you and your spouse: then your spouse may inherit the first $30,000 of your intestate property plus one-half of the balance, and your descendants may inherit the rest.
- If you have a spouse and descendants from you and your former partner: then your spouse may inherit half of your intestate property, and your descendants may inherit the rest.
- If you have a spouse and parents: then your spouse may inherit the first $30,000 of your intestate property plus one-half of the balance, and your parents may inherit the rest.
With all that being said, there is no time like the present when it comes to establishing your will. Reach out to one of the skilled Butler County estate planning attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC today.