The first step is locating the Decedent’s original Last Will. Look for two (2) things at this point – (1) the person who will be in charge (“Personal Representative”) and those persons who will benefit (“Beneficiaries” or “Heirs”). From this, everything else will follow.
Pa Probate – 2 – Last Will – Testate
If the Decedent had a Pa Last Will, the Decedent died “Testate” (with a Will). The “Personal Representative” will be named as the Pa Executor (or Executrix which merely means “female” as opposed to Executor meaning “male” – and note that these legal terms are becoming less used – they words stem from the ancient Roman Empire and the British Empire and are considered archaic in this century). Then determine who the “Beneficiaries” (with a Will) are.
Pa Probate – 2 – Last Will – Intestate
If the Decedent did not have a Pa Last Will, then the Decedent died “Intestate” (without a Will). Both of the items you looked for in the Will above, will now be governed by Pa Wills Law. The “Personal Representative” will be named as the Administrator (same thing as Executor – different spelling only) and is explained in Pennsylvania Code under “Title 20 – Decedents, Estates, and Fiduciaries – Chapter 21 – Intestate Succession.” Then determine who the “Heirs” (without a Will) are.