Pennsylvania

Last will isn’t scary and you don’t have to be 90 to sign one

For many people, signing the last will and testament is synonymous to preparing for a swift demise. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Hospice patients are not the only people who create last wills, many young adults in Pennsylvania create these documents to make their future just a bit safer. 

If you don’t think that outlining what should be done with your estate should the worse happen to you, you may have a change of heart after reading this article. Keep reading, and you will learn who needs to have a last will and what should you include in one if you want to cover everything. To cover all the correct legal language, download and fill out a Pennsylvania last will form before signing it together with two witnesses.

Do I need a last will?

An obvious point is to create a last will and testament when healthcare provides bring you the bad news. However, that’s not the only situation when you may need to have one. Here are three cases when you may think about creating last will and testament.

Marriage

If you are about to get married, you may want to consider creating a last will. The thing is, if you die intestate, i.e. without a will, all of your estate is going to be inherited by your spouse as per Pennsylvania law. If you want to make sure your other relatives also receive a part of your fortune, you may need to create a will to avoid confusion. Telling your spouse and your relatives about your wishes may be good enough if both of them will cooperate on the issue, but it’s always a good idea to indicate that in a written will to avoid confusion and conflict. 

If you’re not married but are in a partnership with someone, you may want to put them in your will as even though law states they are entitled to your will, they would have to go to court to prove you were indeed partners. That could lead to conflict with the family so it’s best to be avoided. In the case that you do split up afterward, you can always change the will.

Children

If you have children, you may want to create the last will as well. Normally, if a person has a surviving spouse, they receive $30,000 of the estate and then half of what’s left, the other half being given to the deceased’s children. If the deceased lived with their children from the previous marriage and a spouse, the spouse will not be entitled to the $30,000 payment and will share the estate with the children in equal parts. However, stepchildren that were not legally adopted may be left out of the picture. 

If you wish to distribute your assets differently, consider creating a last will just in case. Also, if you do not have a spouse, you may want to indicate who you want to name as the guardian of your children in case of your demise. Make sure to check in with them about it first, though.

Donation outside of family

For persons who die without the will, their estate will be shared between their spouse and their children. If they have neither, their fortune will be passed down upon their parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, and down the family tree. In the case that the court cannot find any relatives to succeed the deceased, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is going to collect their fortune. 

If you have absolutely no one and want to leave your estate to a trusted friend, it’s best to create a will in advance to make sure your wishes are accounted for in the case of an emergency.

 Also, if you wish to grant a part of your fortune to an organisation like a charity fund or a dog shelter, you should contact them for legal infromation and add them into your will. Otherwise, only the relatives who inherit your fortune will be making the decision to donate or not.

A large number of assets

The last point is if you have a significant amount of assets, even if you’re not married and do not have children, you may want to create a will to let the courts know who you wish to inherit it. This is especially important if your relationships with the immediate family who will be inheriting by law are strained or you’re estranged from your family.

What do you need to mention in the will

In Pennsylvania, all you need to create a will is a document signed by you and by two witnesses who are present at the time of signing. Both the testator and the witnesses should be over 18 years of age and of sound mind. It’s also important that the witnesses are not benefitting from the will. If your friend who’s receiving all your assets co-signs on the will, it will be likely to be thrown out in court.

What to include in the last will

Apart from legal language that can be found in the templates, you will definitely include the list of your possessions and the list of beneficiaries. Make sure that you document all monetary and non-monetary possessions that you have. While you don’t have to mention clothing, listing cars and pricy jewelry is necessary. When including bank accounts, make sure to provide some banking information to avoid confusion. 

Along with that list of possessions you should write who will be inheriting them and in what proportions. You can either write concrete sums or percentages of money or ownership over the property. When including family members, mention their relation to you. When including friends, make sure to add as many details about them as you can.

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