No one wants to think about their eventual death, but it is necessary to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and your assets are protected. If you are in the beginning stages of estate planning, one of your first steps should be to create a will. For your will to be valid, it will need to meet all the requirements required by the state of Pennsylvania. If your will does not meet the requirements, the courts may deem that you died intestate or without a will, and your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of Intestate Succession.
Generally, in order for your will to be valid under Penn. State Code Sec. 2502, the testator or creator of the will must be at least 18-years-old and of sound mind. In other words, the testator of the will needs to be an adult with the mental capacity to understand the asset distribution process.
The will itself must be in writing and signed at the bottom by the testator with two witnesses present. The testator must also declare that the signed document is his or her will in front of the witnesses. A holographic will, or an unsigned will in the testator’s handwriting, is generally not valid in Pennsylvania.
While these rules may seem straightforward, there are many specifics that can easily be overlooked without the help of a qualified probate and estate planning attorney. An estate planning attorney in your area can ensure the validity of your will, thereby making sure that your assets will be properly distributed when the time comes.