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Last Will and Testament


What is a Will?

  • A will is a document which provides the manner in which a person’s property will be distributed after death.  It must meet certain formal requirements as provided by the laws of our state.

Who can make a Will?

  • In Pennsylvania, any competent adult can make a Last Will and Testament.

What happens if I don’t make a Will?

  • When a person dies without a Will, the property of the deceased is distributed according to a formula that is fixed by state law.  The problem is that you might not like the formula created in this “intestacy law”.

What do I need to know before I do a Will?

  • I talk to people every day who say that they need to schedule an appointment to get a Will, but they think that they don’t have all of the information that they need and they don’t want to waste the attorney’s time.  It is my experience that most people have all of the information they need.  It is the attorney’s job to ask the right questions to get the correct information.

Who do I want to manage my estate when I die?

  • This is the person who will be named as executor in your Will.  You also need to think of the person you want to name as the backup.

Who do you want to inherit your assets when you die?

  •  You may have certain personal items you want to go to certain people.  You may have dollar amounts you want to give to someone.  Or finally, you may wish to leave the rest of your estate to a certain person or group of persons.

Do you have beneficiaries who are minors?

  •  If you have young children or grandchildren, then you may want to create a trust in your will for the moneys and properties that will pass to them

Are there other important persons to name in your Will?

  •  If you have young children, then you will want to name guardians to take custody of your children.  If you have a trust, then you will need to name trustees.  Always remember to name backups to any of the persons named in any positions or capacities.

Do I need an attorney to draft a Will?

Pennsylvania has very generous laws that recognize Wills that are not drafted by attorneys.  So technically, you could draft your own will.

However, there are traps for the person who is not trained in estate planning.  The money you save by drafting your own Will could cost your family thousands of dollars in costs in the long run.

Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss these and other important estate planning and elder law issues.