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Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  30 years experience representing clients.
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In Pa when one spouse dies does the other one have to open

Customer Question

In Pa when one spouse dies does the other one have to open an estate? or does everything automatically go to the spouse unless otherwise indicated by a will.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs, and I look forward to assisting you.

No one is legally required to open an estate in probate, no matter their relationship to the decedent.

Probate is only necessary, generally, if the decedent left assets in their name which need to change title to someone else.

If all the assets are owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship then title automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant outside of probate and it is not necessary to open an estate.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is that somewhere in writing? My mom died, my dad is still living, they have a trust. Everything is joint. She has a very small IRA, and it says it should become part of her eatate. It does not name him specifically. They said if I can tell them where to look for the specific law, then they will send it to my dad.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

It is not in writing that you do not have to probate an estate. It is only in writing when you do have to probate and that is the Probate Code.

Joint tenancy owned property is not a probate asset and only probate assets go through probate. That is the main reason people title assets in joint tenancy

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

By definition, property in joint tenancy automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant upon the death of the other. It is not an asset of the probate estate and it is not controlled by the last will.

Likewise, accounts with a named beneficiary got to the beneficiary. However, if the IRA says it goes to the estate, then it would need to go through probate to pass to the designated beneficiaries in the last will.

Property in trust does not, as a general rule, go through probate unless the trust agreement states otherwise.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Their trust does not indicate that anything should go through probate. But since the IRA states that it is to go into the estate I will have to open an estate, Is it a difficult process to do this?
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
if the estate is designated as beneficiary then it needs to go through probate if you wish to claim it.
It is not especially difficult. The clerk of the private court can provide the forms or you can retain local counsel to help you.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Did you have further questions before you rate my service to you?

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (Excellent or Good) so that I am credited by JustAnswer for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.