5 Reasons to Have a Lawyer Prepare Your Will
If you own any type of property or are the legal guardian of any minor children, you need a will. This legal document explains what should happen to your property when you pass away and who will take guardianship of your minor children. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you create a valid will and provide important legal advice and representation, as described below.
1. A Lawyer Can Make Sure You Follow the Proper Formalities
Pennsylvania has specific rules that apply when making and executing a will, including:
Where you sign the will
How you sign your will if you have a physical disability that prevents you from personally signing it
How your signature must be verified during the probate process
A lawyer is familiar with these rules and can ensure that you follow them in order to create a valid will.
If you do not make a valid will, your estate will be subject to Pennsylvania's laws of intestacy, which are the state's default rules that apply when someone dies without a will.
2. A Lawyer Can Make Your Will Self-Proving
To avoid the hassle of having witnesses come to court after you pass away or challenges of whether you signed the will voluntarily, you can make your will self-proving. Your estate planning lawyer can prepare affidavits for two witnesses to sign that say that they saw you sign the will and that you appeared to be of sound mind.
3. A Lawyer Can Customize Your Will Based on Your Needs
A lawyer can meet with you and discuss your particular estate planning needs. Your estate planning lawyer can discuss your concerns and estate planning objectives. They can help you address complicated family dynamics, such as if you want to protect children from a previous relationship. An estate planning lawyer can also help you anticipate potential challenges to your will and guard against them.
A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can also provide you with additional insight about other estate planning documents you might need to protect your interests or other techniques you can use to avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, or achieve other estate planning objectives.
4. A Lawyer Can Make Necessary Changes
There are certain times when you may want to make changes to your will, such as:
You get married
You get divorce
You have a child
You adopt a child
Your relationship with a beneficiary or your personal representative changes
You acquire, sell, or transfer property
An experienced estate planning lawyer can explain whether you should create a completely new will if these changes occur or if a codicil that amends only a portion of your will should suffice.
5. A Lawyer Can Explain Your Legal Rights and Options
One of the most important reasons to hire an experienced Pennsylvania estate planning lawyer is to get sound legal advice about your legal rights and options. You may have questions about disinheriting an heir or how to leave property to charity. By working with a lawyer who focuses on wills and trusts, you can ensure that your wishes are followed after your passing.
An experienced estate planning lawyer can discuss your legal rights and options during a confidential consultation. Contact us to schedule yours.