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What can I do with a Pennsylvania will?

A will, also called a Last Will and Testament can help you protect your family and your property. You can use a will to:

  • leave your property to people or organizations
  • name a personal guardian to care for your minor children
  • name a trusted person to manage property you leave to minor children, and
  • name an executor, the person who makes sure that the terms of your will are carried out.

What happens if I die without a will?

In Pennsylvania, if you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to state "intestacy" laws. Pennsylvania's intestacy law gives your property to your closest relatives, beginning with your spouse and children. If you have neither a spouse nor children, your grandchildren or your parents will get your property. This list continues with increasingly distant relatives, including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and your spouse's relatives. If the court exhausts this list to find that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, the state will take your property.

What are the requirements for signing a will in Pennsylvania?

To finalize your will in Pennsylvania: You must sign your will in front of two witnesses, and your witnesses must sign your will.

Do I need to have my will notarized?

No, in Pennsylvania, you do not need to notarize your will to make it legal.

However, Pennsylvania allows you to make your will "self-proving" and you'll need to go to a notary if you want to do that. A self-proving will speeds up probate because the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who signed it. To make your will self-proving you and your witnesses will go to the notary and sign an affidavit that proves who you are and that each of you knew you were signing the will.

Should I use my will to name an executor?

Yes. In Pennsylvania, you can use your will to name an executor who will ensure that the provisions in your will are carried out after your death. If you don't name an executor, the probate court will appoint someone to take on the job of winding up your estate.

You need a firm that can help you plan ahead: plan for such things as powers of attorney, last wills, and living wills. We offer you guidance on how to create and understand you financial goals, your financial responsibilities as well as your baseline needs all in conjunction with other professionals with specific expertise. Our experienced Pittsburgh family law attorneys can guide you through the maze of details that accompany planning for your future.

For an initial consultation with Iwanyshyn & Associates on these or any other concerns, contact us by phone, fax or e-mail. We look forward to meeting you, listening to the details of your situation and assisting you in making choices.

» Call us to ensure you receive the best representation possible, in the timeframe you desire and require