Creating a comprehensive estate plan is an essential part of preparing for your future. One of the most important things you can do when planning your estate is to execute a valid will. A will allows you to determine exactly what will happen to your assets upon your passing, ensuring that they are distributed according to your wishes. Far too often, Pennsylvania residents die without a will and their assets are distributed within the state laws of intestate succession, often being given to beneficiaries that the decedent would not have chosen themselves.
How do I make sure my will is valid?
Each state has laws that residents must abide by when they are creating a will. If you are drafting your will in the state of Pennsylvania, you will have to meet a number of requirements to ensure that it is valid and will be accepted upon your passing. The requirements of a valid will in Pennsylvania include the following:
- The testator, which is the person who is writing the will, is at least 18 years old
- The testator must be mentally competent at the time the will is created
- The testator must declare the will in front of two witnesses
- The witnesses are required to sign the will in front of the testator
Appointing an Executor
When writing your will, you may also wish to choose a trusted person to administer your estate upon your passing. The executor will have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that your estate is closed properly, that your assets are distributed in accordance with your will, and that all outstanding debts and taxes are paid.
Contesting a Will
If one of your beneficiaries is under the impression that your will was not created in accordance with state laws, they may contest the will. Only people who will benefit from the will are permitted to contest it. A will can be contested on grounds of forgery, fraud, improper execution, or undue influence.
If you have questions about drafting, administering, or contesting a will in Pennsylvania, it is critical to consult with an attorney. Our firm has decades of experience representing clients as they navigate the estate planning and administration process. Contact us today.
Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.