ARE YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES PROTECTED?
A will is a document which allows you to determine who receives your assets—both real property and personal property, after your death. A will can be as simple or as complex as you desire. The most significant aspect of a will is that it is determines where your assets go after death. Without a will, the Intestate Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania determine who receives your assets after your death. While these would typically be your next of kin, only with a will can you specifically direct who receives your assets and who will handle your estate.BENEFITS OF A WILL
If your beneficiaries are under the age of 18 years, your will may direct who will serve as their guardian and who will serve as trustee for purpose of holding title to and administering their assets. Minors under the age of 18 years are not permitted to hold property in Pennsylvania. Therefore, it is important for you to choose someone you trust to serve as guardian and/or trustee.
If you have no will, a judge of the Orphan's Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which you reside will determine who will serve as guardian and/or trustee. The person chosen by the court may not be the person you would have chosen. A court may even choose a bank or other financial institution to serve as guardian or trustee in which case your estate may incur substantial guardianship or trustee fees to the bank or financial institution.CREATE OR UPDATE YOUR WILL TODAY
You may change your will at any time up until the time of death. Your will, once drafted, should be retained by you in a safe place. A safe deposit box may not be the best place, since it may be difficult for anyone to access it when you die. A will is not filed in the courthouse until after your death.
When you draft your will, you must choose an Executor or Executrix. If you do not, a judge will do it for you. The job of the Executor or Executrix is to gather all of your assets after death, pay all of your debts from those assets, pay death taxes which accrue on account of your death, and make sure your beneficiaries receive their bequests pursuant to the will. Please tell your Executor beforehand that he or she was chosen as Executor. You should also tell your Executor where you are keeping the original will. Your lawyer may also keep a copy of the will in his file.
To update or create a new will, please contact our firm at (570) 344-1266.