What is a Philadelphia Will?
Everyone should have a will regardless of age or physical health. Wills are an essential part of estate planning, and an experienced Philadelphia wills attorney can help you to draft a valid will and to ensure that it will be enforceable.
A will, which is also known as a last will and testament, is a document that a person can use to leave property to family members, friends, organizations, and other entities. According to Pennsylvania law, the following are requirements for making a will:
- Person is 18 years or older; and
- Person is of sound mind.
In order for a will to be valid, it must be in writing, and it must be signed by the testator (i.e., the person making the will) at the end of the will. If a testator cannot physically sign the will, she or he can make a mark that can validly take the place of a signature if the mark is made in the presence of two witnesses who then sign their names to the will. If a testator cannot make a mark but is still 18 years or older and of sound mind, another party can sign the will on the testator’s behalf if it is done in the presence of the testator, at the testator’s express direction, and in the presence of two witnesses who sign their names to the will.
Holographic wills, which are handwritten wills, can only be valid in Pennsylvania if all other requirements described above are met. However, holographic wills can get tricky, and it is better to have a will typed and properly signed to ensure its validity. Pennsylvania does not permit orally made wills, which are known as nuncupative wills.
Benefits of Having a Will in Philadelphia
In addition to knowing that your property will pass to your intended heirs according to your wishes, working with a Philadelphia estate law attorney can help to ensure that your last will and testament will be enforceable and that you will not die intestate. When a person dies without a valid will, or without any kind of will, that person is said to die “intestate.” When a person dies intestate, Pennsylvania’s intestacy law will determine who property is passed.
When a person passes away and has a will, probate will occur, and the assets can be distributed according to the deceased’s wishes. If you want to learn more about options for leaving property to your loved ones in a manner that avoids probate, you should speak with your estate planning lawyer about creating a trust.
Contact a Philadelphia Wills Attorney Today
If you need assistance drafting an enforceable will, revising a will, or enforcing or contesting a will in Pennsylvania, one of our experienced Philadelphia wills lawyers can help you. We have years of experience assisting clients with a variety of trusts and estates issues, including wills and the probate process. Contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin today for more information about the services we provide.