Things to Consider While Writing Your Will
Writing a will can be a difficult and emotional experience. Few of us want to consider a time when we will no longer be with our families. However, a will is an important legal instrument to help ensure when your family is grieving, your wishes will be respected. A will can protect your family from disputes, offer you peace of mind and ensure your loved ones don’t have to see your estate divided by Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws.
What to Think About Before You Write Your Will
Before you do sit down to create a will, there are several things you will want to consider first:
- How much property and how many assets do you have? Take a close look. Keep in mind that if you own joint property, the property will generally pass to the other owner. Carefully evaluate all your property and assets so you don’t neglect to mention a component.
- How do you want to distribute your property? You can leave your property to organizations or to people.
- Do you have minor children or loved ones who cannot care for themselves? If so, you may wish to leave a personal guardian and a person you trust to manage the assets you leave to your children.
- Are you leaving specific gifts? It can be a challenge to leave specific gifts, such as “$100,000 to my daughter” because your estate may change over time. If you need extensive medical care at some point in your life, for example, your estate may shrink. Once your specific bequests are made, some people in your will may be left without any property.
- What taxes will your beneficiaries have to pay? If you leave a specific item in your will — such as a piece of art — you must have it appraised, and your beneficiary will have to pay taxes once they inherit the item. Depending on the value of items you wish to give, you may choose to give some property to beneficiaries now to avoid appraisal expenses and other costs.
- Who can act as your executor? An executor ensures your wishes are carried out and the provisions of your will are followed. One of the things to consider when thinking about how to prepare your will is whom you can trust for this position.
How to Write a Will in PA
Once you have considered whom you will leave your property to and how much property you have to leave, you may be wondering how to create your will. Laws for wills in PA do not require you to notarize your will. However, to save your beneficiaries time, you may still want to visit a notary to make your will “self-proving.” Essentially, this means your beneficiaries won’t have to wait for the court to contact the witnesses on your will.
While there are many websites about how to draw up a will, one of the simplest ways to plan your estate is to speak to an experienced probate attorney. An attorney can prepare all the paperwork for you and can have your will made to your exact requirements. If there are any unusual requirements, an attorney can reduce the chances of any issues or problems later on.
If you’d like to write your will so it is legal and really assists your family during what will be a time of grief, contact MPL Law. Our attorneys take the time to listen, and we work hard to ensure your will reflects your true wishes.