Thompson Law Group, P.C.

How can you handle situations when parents did not have a will?


The loss of a parent can be a difficult situation to get beyond in an emotional way. While time will likely heal that pain, Pennsylvania residents can face other issues following the death of a parent. One problem that frequently arises is if the parents failed to take the necessary estate planning steps to handle their affairs and did not create a will or other device. Knowing what to do after this has become evident is important to settle their affairs and to pass their assets along to those who have a right to them.

Before anything else, there are steps that the children should take. There should be a search for a possible will that no one was aware of being completed. Going through their records, checking files and areas where it might have been stored in the home and discussing it with friends, relatives and professionals who might have knowledge of where a will could be can yield an unexpected document.

If nothing is found in this way, they could have a safety deposit box in a bank. That can be complicated as receiving the approval to get into the box is not easy. Perhaps the parents listed the child's name to gain access to it after they have died. Short of that, it will require legal help to get access to it. If no will is found after a comprehensive search, accruing any documents that can be of use is important. That should include financial statements, tax returns and the value of assets so that this information can be used in probate.

Having legal assistance for probate is essential whether there is a will or not. It is especially important if no will is found as there can be relatives and others who engage in a dispute as to the assets and who should get them. Probate is where the courts examine a will to check its validity. When there is no will, having legal help for this process is critical. Contacting a law firm that has experience in these matters may help to pass assets to heirs and deal with other factors that will arise in this situation.

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