What are the next of kin laws in pennsylvania

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What are the next of kin laws in pennsylvania

My mother passed away with no will. Her POD
homeowners insurance pays off the house and
reverts ownership back to her ex husband but
now my half sister and I are arguing over the
contents of the property. I being the oldest feel
I should have some rights to my mothers
properties but since she resides in the house,
she has taken over complete control and has
changed the locks and so forth. Could you
please inform me of my legal rights and or next
steps

Asked on August 20, 2019 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

When there is no will, any property not disposed of by, for example, being POD/TOD, passes according to "intestate succession" (the rules who for gets what when there is no will). When the deceased was not married when she passed, that property--for example, the contents of the home; any money in a non-joint bank account (money in a joint account goes to the surviving joint account holder)--will be split evenly between the deceased's children: that is, evenly split between you and your sister. Her living in the home is irrelevant, as is birth order: it is an even distribution.
You could bring a legal action against her to recover your share. This action is much more complex than, say, a small claims case, and must be brought in the probate part of chancery (also known as general equity or equity) court (the part of the court dealing with ownership of property and inheritance). You are advised to retain an attorney if you wish to pursue a legal action; and if the amount at stake is not enough to justify hiring a lawyer, it is probably not worth pursuing.


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