One of the most important things an individual can do for themselves while they are still alive is creating an estate plan. An estate plan allows you to plan for what happens to your assets after your life is over. This allows you to protect your belongings. When creating an estate, individuals often wish to create a written will. A will is a legal document that recognizes how you wish to have your belongings taken care of after you pass away. An experienced attorney can guide you in creating a will that is best for you and your wishes.
Why is a Will Important?
With a long life comes with a lifetimes worth of cherished possessions and belongings. These are things that should continue to be taken care of after an individual passes away. With a will, you are able to pass along your belongings to the people of your choosing. This also ensures they do not fall into the right hands. Having a will can prevent any uncertainty and concerns about what might happen to your estate if it is left unmanaged.
When an individual does not create a will, they die “intestate.” This means their estate may be controlled by the state of Pennsylvania. When this happens, a judge can then make all decisions regarding the estate and where the assets will reside. Judges often follow a succession schedule that distributes the estate based on the surviving family members of the deceased. Dying intestate may also cause a division amongst family members who may believe they are entitled to certain assets over others.
Executing a Will
When an individual is creating a will, there are certain state requirements that must be followed in order to ensure its validity. In Pennsylvania, the person creating the will, otherwise known as the testator, must be at least 18 years of age. They are also required to mentally competent. When the testator signs their will, there must be two witnesses present who will also sign the will.
Contesting a Will
In some cases, a will may be contested. This means that an individual can challenge the will if they are suspicious of its validity. An individual may wish to contest a will if they believe any of the following:
- Influence by another party
- The deceased was not mentally competent when the will was written
- The will was executed improperly
- If fraud or forgery took place
Contact our Firm
If you or a family member is looking to create a will for your estate and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact Friedman Schuman Attorneys at Law today.
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.