If I die without a will, does the state take all of my money?

Q:I have heard that if I die without a will, the government takes all of my money and property and my heirs receive nothing. Is this correct?

A: Absolutely not, but you would be surprised how many people think so. If you have a valid will at the time of your death, your property and money will pass to whom you name as heirs in the will. This is of course after all estate taxes and expenses are paid. If you die without a will, your property and money will pass according to PA laws of intestate succession, which means Pennsylvania decides what portion of your property passes between your surviving heirs. The other degree of control over your estate that you lose by not having a will is that without a will there is no named Executor and therefore, if not otherwise agreed upon by your heirs, the court decides between your surviving heirs who should be in charge of your estate. In some cases this can lead to a family feud in probate court.