As described on the State General Assembly website, Pennsylvania has procedures to prove an individual’s will is valid. You may take steps that could make the process of validating a will, referred to as probate, a less complicated procedure. A smoother passage of your will through probate helps your beneficiaries receive their inheritances sooner.
As noted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, for your will to prove valid, it must be in writing and contain your signature. If you cannot sign due to a medical condition, two witnesses must sign in your presence. Your will’s beneficiaries cannot serve as witnesses. Issues that might cause the court to question your will’s validity could slow down the probate process.
How important is my choice of an executor?
As described by SeniorsMatter.com, the executor named in your will takes on the responsibility of making sure your assets distribute according to your wishes. In addition to choosing someone you trust, an individual’s ability to remain organized and focus on details could determine how quickly matters proceed.
The probate court will appoint an executor if you do not name anyone. You may, however, remain more confident of things proceeding as you planned by choosing the right individual yourself. Doing so also gives you an opportunity to discuss matters with your executor in advance.
What other steps might I take?
As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, you may name a backup executor in the event your first choice dies before you or cannot assume his or her responsibilities. You could also have two or more non-beneficiary witnesses sign your will to attest to its validity in case of a dispute arising during probate.
Plan carefully about how you wish matters to proceed after your death. You may also wish to consider consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney before finalizing your will.