Free Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament



What is a Last Will and Testament?

A Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament is a formal instrument that describes how your assets or estate will be dealt with after you pass away. The person who passes away is formally called the decedent. The testator can also nominate a guardian for their minors in the document to ensure there's someone who can look after the children until they grow to be adults or until they get to a particular age.

In a Pennsylvania Testament, the decedent generally also establishes a personal representative-or co-personal agents (several persons acting together in this capacity) to manage the estate matters. A personal agent is someone who collects all of the information about the decedent’s financial debt and property, pays off any outstanding debts using the assets, and helps to ensure that the decedent’s property is distributed as written in the last will, so this is a duty with quite a bit of responsibility. The personal agent chosen is typically a friend or relative the decedent truly relies on to see through their final wishes.

When someone dies without having a legitimate Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament (which in the majority of states means it must be properly witnessed, not only signed), someone will normally be designated by the court to become the personal agent and cover the decedent’s debts, using assets as necessary to do so. After that, the leftover assets will be dispersed among the decedent’s heirs according to the rules of the state the testator lived in.

In some states, when one spouse dies leaving behind their wife or husband, that living spouse will get all the decedent’s assets without a Last Will saying the contrary. In other instances, the decedent may have designated a particular person to obtain a life insurance policy, retirement account, or some other asset, and this inheritor designation will determine who is given those assets without a Last Will.

The crucial thing to pay attention to is the fact that anyone who wants to designate the way their assets will be handled after their death should undoubtedly create and appropriately execute a Last Will to ensure their wishes are known and respected. Without getting a last will, you may be leaving it up to chance, the rules of the state, or a lawcourt regarding just how your final affairs will be settled.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Pennsylvania

A last will in Pennsylvania protects the wishes of the deceased concerning the inheritance of their property. In the paper, a person indicates what and to whom they would like to bequeath after death. Both relatives and charities can be heirs. A person does not have to make a will if they agree to distribute their property under Pennsylvania laws. However, if the owner of the estate wants to clarify some points, they write a testament.

Purposes of a Testament in Pennsylvania

In the absence of a last will, the property of the deceased goes to their relatives in the order of the degree of kinship. The first applicant is their spouse, followed by descendants and parents. If none of these family members are living, the other relatives inherit the deceased’s property. The rules of inheritance are determined by the court under the laws of Pennsylvania. This order can be changed by writing a testament.

A testator describes in detail the parts of the inheritance to be allocated and indicates the person(s) who owns them after their death. The main content of the document is summarized in these points:

  • Specifying the last will executor

  • Description of the testator’s movable and immovable property

  • Appointment of the person(s) who will own the right to part(s) of this estate

  • Establishing the guardian of the testator’s minor children

  • Providing care for elderly relatives

  • Donations to a charitable foundation.

Of course, a testator mentions those points that are relevant to them. A last will allows the court to clearly understand the will of the deceased and appoint heirs according to their wishes. Making a testament allows a person to avoid dividing the inheritance per the general Pennsylvania law and to specify their requirements.

Exceptions to a Testament

Through a last will, a person can distribute a significant part of their property, but not all of it. Pennsylvania law defines the parts of the inheritance that are distributed regardless of the testator’s wishes.

It concerns the share of the deceased’s spouse, who inherits a third of the entire estate. The law implies the transfer to the living spouse of the deceased’s property transferred by a last will or during the life of the deceased. Since some cases are controversial, the court decides what kind of property the deceased’s spouse receives.

Form and Editing of a Last Will

Pennsylvania courts accept both printed and handwritten wills. Please note that in any case, the document must be written in an official form and include all the points, such as a description of the property and the indication of the heirs, as well as the signatures of the testator and witnesses.

If a testator decides to change the document content, they can submit amendments to the will to the state office. The clerk must necessarily certify these changes. Otherwise, they are invalid. A person can also revoke a last will. They need to create another testament indicating that the previous will is no longer valid or destroy the document in the presence of other persons.

Last Will Forms for Neighboring States