Many people collect a great deal of valuable assets throughout their lifetime. Often times, they want to pass down these belongings to loved ones so that they can continue to be taken care of. In order to do this, people can create an extensive estate plan to prepare for what happens to these assets when their life is over.
When creating an estate plan, people often write a will. A will is a document that outlines the individual’s wishes of how they want their estate to be handled after they die. This ensures that their assets do not end up in the wrong hands. In order to create a will, there are certain guidelines that must be followed. If they are not, the will may be illegitimate.
Creating a Will
In the state of Pennsylvania, a person has to follow the correct legal channels to create a will. There are a few requirements that must be met for a will to be legal. The state requires the testator, the individual writing the will, to be at least 18 years old. In addition to this, they must be mentally competent while writing the document. The will must also be signed by the testator in front of two witnesses who also sign it.
Contesting a Will
When a testator passes away, their will must go through probate court. This is a process that works to determine whether or not a will is a valid document. If a beneficiary to the will believes that it was not created legally, it can be contested. It is important to know that a will can only be contested by a person that is mentioned in the will or a previous will that was written by the testator.
A person may want to contest a will for the following reasons:
- If it was created under the influence of another party
- If the deceased was not mentally competent when writing the will
- If the will was not executed properly
- If fraud or forgery took place
If the court agrees that the will is invalid, the content cannot be used and the document can be thrown out. If the testator had an earlier will, it is possible to use this document instead. If no other will exists, the deceased’s assets can be distributed by the state of Pennsylvania.
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Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. We proudly serve clients facing a wide range of legal matters. If you require the services of an effective attorney, please contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.