Are There Different Types of Wills?

May 21, 2024
Contact a West Chester Wills and Estate Lawyer at Eckell Sparks to Find Out Which Will Is Best for You

Pennsylvania recognizes different types of wills that individuals can use to express their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after their death. Here are some common types of wills in Pennsylvania:

  • Simple will: This basic document is geared toward asset and property distribution and guardianship. It is part of basic estate planning. The testator (the person who owns the assets) decides on the beneficiaries and guardians of their minor children. Simple wills include basic provisions and are appropriate for people with few assets.
  • Living will: This is unrelated to asset or property distribution or guardianship after the testator’s passing. It lets you choose which medical treatments you wish to have should you become incapacitated, and you can designate someone to make those decisions.
  • Joint will: This kind of will is appropriate when two testators want to create a shared estate plan. These terms are also irrevocable after a testator passes away. These work for domestic spouses or partners who wish the other person to receive their assets after they pass away.

What Should Be Included in a Will?

Creating a comprehensive will involves considering various aspects of your estate and personal circumstances. While the specifics may vary based on individual needs and preferences, here are essential elements to include in a will:

  • Identification
  • Executor
  • Guardianship
  • Asset distribution
  • Specific bequests
  • Residuary estate
  • Contingency plans
  • Digital assets
  • Funeral and burial wishes
  • Legal formalities
  • Revocation and amendment
  • Witnesses and notary

Which Will Is Best for Me?

The decision to create a will is important and requires careful consideration. We help clients establish their priorities and determine what their assets are. Some are most interested in spousal, partner, and their children’s future support, while others want their assets donated to charities.

The size of the estate also dictates which type of will is most appropriate. More assets typically mandate more detailed planning that is not offered with simple wills. You might want to place your assets in a trust to ensure the funds are available when your beneficiaries need them. Executors hold control over trust assets, so keep that in mind when making your decisions.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me With a Will?

A lawyer can play a crucial role in helping you create a will that accurately reflects your wishes and complies with legal requirements. Firstly, an experienced estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance on the various options available for estate distribution, considering the client’s specific circumstances, family dynamics, and financial goals. The lawyer can help you identify potential issues and complexities that may arise, such as tax implications, asset protection strategies, and possible challenges from beneficiaries. Additionally, a lawyer can ensure that the will is drafted according to state laws, including proper execution, witnessing, and notarization, if required, to avoid any legal challenges or disputes in the future. Moreover, attorneys can assist with updating and reviewing the will periodically, especially after major life events, to ensure that it remains up-to-date and aligned with your current wishes.

Contact a West Chester Wills and Estate Lawyer at Eckell Sparks to Find Out Which Will Is Best for You

People often procrastinate about making wills, but it is a vital part of estate planning. Contact a skilled West Chester wills and estate lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. We offer confidential consultations. Call 610-565-3701 or complete our online form today. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.