It must thereafter be determined if a will is necessary. Often times the deceased person has titled all of his assets as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. This means there is a co-owner to the assets and the co-owner will automatically assume 100% ownership of the assets at the death of the decedent. If this is the case, the surviving co-owner generally must provide only a death certificate to the custodian of the asset(s) to retitle them in the name of the surviving co-owner.
If there was no will and the assets were not titled as JTWROS, it must thereafter be determined if the assets were titled in the name of a trust where the deceased person was the grantor of the trust. If they were, termination of the trust is necessary.
If there was no will, assets were not titled as JTWROS, and there was no trust, a few factors come into play next that determine the status of the assets left by the deceased person. Was the deceased married? Has anyone survived the deceased? Does the deceased have siblings or parents still alive? Thereafter, the state of Pennsylvania has enacted statutes which direct the distribution of assets of the decedent according to who is surviving the decedent (often referred to as per stripes).