A will is an important part of any estate plan. Every adult should have a will since tragic, unexpected events however unlikely can occur at any age. Without a will, the distribution of your estate will be determined by Pennsylvania law. Having an experienced attorney draft your Will is the best way to ensure that everything is properly done and that your wishes are carried out.
A well-drafted will goes beyond laying out who is to get what. The will makes sure that no bond needs to be posted during the estate administration, lays out who should manage your estate, and nominates guardians for your children, giving you control over who raises them should anything happen to you. It’s often appropriate to have trust provisions for minor children to help manage your assets and ensure that they are available for them into the future. It will ensure that any property that isn’t specifically devised winds up going where you would want it to go. And it will simplify the administration of your estate.
A will can be a very simple document or it can be very complex. It is important to work with a lawyer who will examine your situation and your goals and develop a document that will carry out your wishes and that will withstand the scrutiny of the court. A poorly written will may be successfully challenged far more easily than a well-drafted document prepared by a knowledgeable attorney.
Any property that is transferred by a will has to go through a probate process before it will be transferred. The probate process in Pennsylvania is not complex, and the vast majority of estates are settled without court involvement, but if avoiding probate is of interest to you, then you should consider using other probate-avoiding methods such as a trust, joint ownership and lifetime gifting.