One of the most challenging moments for the family and friends of a person is when the will must be written, which will indicate the last intention of the testator. In it, some fundamental aspects must be included so that no detail is missing and there are no possible complications when reading their last wishes.
What must be included in a will is how the assets acquired by the person will be distributed. This must be well specified and mention the personal data of the beneficiaries of the inheritance. For this, it is necessary to have a guide of example wills in Pennsylvania, how to write it, what data must be included, etc.
How to write a will in Pennsylvania?
There is no official structure for writing a will in Pennsylvania. However, the document must include specific items, explaining and stating precisely what the testator wants and their last will concerning their property. The parts of the will in Pennsylvania that must be included in the document are the following:
- Heading: The will should begin with a heading that indicates that it is a will. You can use language similar to the following:
“Will of [Testator’s Full Name], [City], Pennsylvania”.
- Introductory Statement: Next, you should include an initial statement declaring that you are writing the will with full knowledge and mental capacity and that you revoke any previous will you have made.
- Appointment of an attorney-in-fact or executor: In the will, you can name a person you trust as your attorney-in-fact or executor to manage your assets and property after your death. Be sure to include their full name and address.
- Disposition of assets and property: You should include specific provisions for how you want your assets and property to be distributed after your death. This may consist of particular bequests to individuals or institutions and the designation of heirs or beneficiaries.
- Appointment of guardian or custodian for minors: If you have minor children, you must include a provision in your will to name a guardian or custodian for them in the event of the death of both parents. Be sure to include the full name and address of the guardian or custodian you wish to name.
- Signature and Witnesses: For your will to be valid in Pennsylvania, you must sign it at the end. In addition, the will must be signed by at least two witnesses, who must also sign and provide their addresses. The witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the will.
- Storage and Copies: It is essential to keep the will safe and ensure that people you trust, such as your attorney-in-fact or executor, know its location. You can also make additional copies for your loved ones and your attorney.
Can I write my own will in Pennsylvania without an attorney?
If an attorney cannot provide a written will, a person may write their own will. This document will be valid in Pennsylvania as long as two witnesses sign this paper. Suppose the will is executed in front of a notary. In that case, the presence of the two witnesses in court will not be necessary to corroborate that it is the decedent’s will. However, the will is valid even if it is not legally notarized.
What should I do if a family member dies in Pennsylvania?
The first step is to obtain a death certificate from the doctor who certified the death. This certificate is necessary for many legal and administrative procedures, such as getting benefits, closing bank accounts, and settling property. You can obtain a certified copy of the death certificate from the county where the death occurred.
In addition, you should contact a funeral home to make funeral arrangements. The funeral home will help you plan the funeral or memorial service. It will provide you with information about the costs and options available. They can also arrange for the disposition of the body if you wish.
Then, you should notify the appropriate authorities and agencies of the death, such as the Pennsylvania State Department of Health, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Postal Service, and any other entity with which the decedent had legal or financial relationships. You may need to obtain legal and financial advice to handle the estate, probate, property, debt, and other legal and financial matters related to the loved one’s death. You can hire an attorney or financial advisor to assist you in this process.
If the decedent had a will or estate plan, you must notify the beneficiaries and heirs as outlined in those documents. This may require the submission of additional documents, such as a death certificate. Furthermore, you should contact insurance companies to file claims and receive the appropriate benefits if they have life insurance policies. You should close the deceased’s bank accounts and credit cards and notify financial institutions of their death. You should also pay the decedent’s outstanding debts and funeral expenses.
What if the decedent did not write a will in Pennsylvania?
If a person dies in Pennsylvania without having left a valid will, they are considered to have died “intestate.” In that case, Pennsylvania intestate succession laws will determine how their purchases and possessions will be allocated. When someone dies intestate in Pennsylvania, their goods will be distributed according to the decedent’s family ties.
- If the decedent had a spouse, but no descendants, the entire estate would go to the spouse.
- If the decedent had descendants and a spouse, the estate would be divided 50% to the descendants and 50% to the spouse.
- If the deceased had descendants but no spouse, the descendants would inherit 100% of the assets.
- If the deceased had no descendants or spouse but did have living parents, the entire inheritance goes entirely to the parents.
- If the deceased had no spouse, descendants, or parents but did have siblings, the latter would inherit all the assets.
- Suppose the decedent has no spouse, descendants, parents, or siblings. In that case, the Pennsylvania judiciary will distribute the assets among distant relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.) according to Pennsylvania Intestate Succession law.
What is the probate process?
The probate process in Pennsylvania involves submitting the original will to the appropriate county court to verify its validity and legality. This may include testing the testator’s mental capacity, the truth of the legal formalities, and the absence of fraud or coercion. If the court is satisfied that the will is valid, it will issue a probate order recognizing and validating the will in Pennsylvania, allowing it to be executed and enforced by state law.
What is a durable power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney, also known as a durable power of attorney, is a legal document that allows a person to appoint another person, known as an attorney-in-fact, to act on their behalf to make decisions in legal and financial matters if the grantor (the person granting a power of attorney) becomes unable to do so themself due to illness, disability or absence.
- “PDFLiner.” PDFliner: Fill in PDF Forms, Free Online Creator, https://pdfliner.com/online-editor/?pdf_file_id=operation_643c1d55338fe4b2ef0196cb.
- Swartz, High. “How to Write a Valid Will | Will Lawyers | Doylestown | Norristown, PA.” High Swartz Law Firm, 2 Aug. 2022,https://highswartz.com/legal-insights/estate-planning/how-to-write-a-valid-will/.
- Vadala, Nick. “How to Write a Will in Pennsylvania.” Https://Www.Inquirer.Com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 Jan. 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/philly-tips/will-and-testament-pennsylvania-20210106.html.
For years I have studied American finance regulations. All the information in this blog is sourced from official or contrasted sources from reliable sites.
Salesforce Certified SALES & SERVICE Cloud Consultant in February 2020, Salesforce Certified Administrator (ADM-201), and Master degree in “Business Analytics & Big Data Strategy” with more than 13 years of experience in IT consulting.