What is estate planning and will writing?

| Mar 12, 2021 | Wills and Estate

Estate planning could involve many various elements, but the most well-known might entail writing a will. Pennsylvania residents may wonder how to go about writing a will or might even be unsure of the value. Working with an attorney could provide insights into why a will has benefits and what purpose the document serves.

A will presents a legal way to carry out decisions

When someone passes away, a valid will provides a legal document that presents a means to distribute the estate’s assets. Without a will, the probate court relies on intestacy laws, which might not match the decedent’s wishes. A will allows a testator to decide what beneficiaries receive any specific property. Beneficiaries could include relatives, close friends, business partners, and even charities. The will could stipulate requirements, such as a mandate to liquidate estate property and distribute assets among beneficiaries equally.

Through careful estate planning, a testator might come up with the most equitable distribution plan for beneficiaries. Doing so might decrease the potential for any strife among family members during probate.

Valid wills and state law

A will must be valid for the Pennsylvania probate courts to accept them. A well-written will could prove useless if the testator doesn’t sign it. Any ambiguous or poorly composed language might create other problems, such as opening doors to challenges. While some may think filling out an online document template suffices, the courts might feel otherwise.

“Generic” language present on a template may not be sufficient. Crafting a unique and personalized will could work to the estate planner’s benefit.

Be aware even a valid will does have limitations. A last will and testament can’t execute medical decisions for a living person. A living will might be the preferable document for such decisions. Speaking with an attorney about what a will can and cannot do may be worthwhile. Perhaps the attorney may suggest completing other legal documents as part of a comprehensive estate plan.

Individualized estate planning could lead to writing a thorough and valid will. Working with an attorney might be a prudent way to achieve the result.

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