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Estate Planning - Wills

A Last Will and Testament is needed for anyone over the age of 18 to have a say in who gets his or her property when he/she dies. A Will identifies specific beneficiaries and specifies the individuals you trust to carry out your wishes. If you die without a Will, your property will be distributed in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Intestate Laws. When you die intestate, your property will be distributed according to a formula created by law and through a court appointed estate administrator–which may or may not be someone you know. If you have no relatives (or your relatives cannot be found) the State will obtain your property.

Dying without a Will can, and most likely will, lead to the distribution of your property in ways you never intended, be more costly in terms of fees and costs and create added emotional strain to your survivors.
When you begin thinking about your Will, it is helpful to know that certain property in Pennsylvania cannot be passed on through a Will. Property that is titled as “tenancy by the entireties” or “joint tenancy” is an asset you cannot pass on through a Will. The property will automatically become the property of the surviving owner. Additionally, bank accounts, securities (stocks and bonds), life insurance policies or retirement accounts with a named beneficiary will pass to the named beneficiary and not through your Will.

Every Will needs to identify the Beneficiaries and the Executor or Executrix. The Executor or Executrix is the individual who will administer your estate and who takes an oath to carry out your wishes. Estate Administration includes paying all your bills, transferring property, creating trusts, and completing other administrative requirements. It is a good idea to include an alternate Executor in the event that the first person you select is unable to perform.

Attorney Carole Hendrick can assure that all legal requirements involved in settling your affairs and transferring property are met. To contact Attorney Carole Hendrick, call 610-489-0295 or click here.

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