A will is an official legal document that serves many functions and it is the centerpiece of any comprehensive estate plan. Ideally, it leaves no doubt about your intentions for what is to happen to your assets after your death. It may also nominate an executor to oversee this process.
If a person dies without a will, or the will does not mention each of their assets, the Probate Court may act to apply the Commonwealth’s intestacy statutes. This often results in a splitting of assets and interfamily fighting. Reaching out to a Pittsburgh wills lawyer could help to avoid this outcome. The aim of our estate planning attorneys is to protect your assets in the future while providing you with peace of mind.
The main purpose of any estate plan is to ensure that your assets move to your designated heirs after your death. The most common way to accomplish this is to draft and execute a comprehensive will. Achieving this goal is a multi-step process, but our attorneys are prepared to provide assistance at every turn. Forming a will requires you to identify and take stock of each of your assets. These commonly include:
A Pittsburgh wills attorney assists people like you in making a comprehensive list of the totality of your assets.
The next step involves naming your heirs. These are the people who will receive the assets at the close of probate. Any adult can inherit any asset through a will. It is also possible for minors to receive this property; however, the court may act to place those items in trust until the child becomes an adult. Our Pittsburgh wills attorneys are prepared to explain the effect that naming heirs will have on your will and those heirs’ ability to receive property after your passing.
For the most part, Pennsylvania law is quiet on regulating how people may create a will. Even so, there are some requirements that you should keep in your mind and that our wills attorneys in Pittsburgh are prepared to help you to satisfy.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 2501 outlines the legal mental requirement for a person to create a will. It states that the person must be both of sound mind and over the age of 18. Furthermore, PA Con. Stat. § 2502 states that the will shall be in writing and contain the signature of the testator at the end of the document. In rare examples, a testator may simply make their mark on the document or order that another person sign the will on their behalf.
Beyond these simple requirements, you are free to include almost any language that you wish in the document. However, you need to consult with a lawyer to determine what language to use to avoid mistakes. One thing that most people do is nominate an executor to perform acts of probate after their death. The executor has the sole power to take temporary possession of assets, pay creditors, and distribute assets to the named heirs. If a will does not nominate a person to serve in this role, the Probate Court will act to nominate and empower a willing and likely candidate. Naming an executor is another way to help retain control over probate after your death.
The traditional will still forms the backbone of any effective estate plan. These documents are the primary way to ensure that your property moves to your intended heirs after your death. A will could also nominate an executor to oversee this process.
The Pittsburgh wills lawyers at our firm are prepared to take every necessary step to provide you and your heirs with this protection. From day one, we work to understand your needs, suggest possible legal options, and draft the documents needed to give those wishes the intended effect. Reach out to us now to discuss your need for a new or modified will.