Why do I need a will?
A will is a legal document that puts your affairs in order when you die. Every adult should have a will to outline his or her intentions regarding home, finances, and other assets and possessions upon death. Your will should identify who will handle your estate, how your assets will be divided, and who will serve as guardian for your minor children.
If you die without a will, your money and possessions will be distributed according to a formula fixed by law, which means that your spouse may have to share assets with other family members not of your choosing. It also could create lengthy delays in the final distribution of assets. Additionally, dying without a will could result in your minor children being placed in the care of a court-appointed guardian rather than with people you would have chosen to care for them.
If you do not plan your estate, the government plans it for you.
What if I change my mind about the contents of my will?
In Pennsylvania, a will is not filed (or probated) until after a person dies. As a result, you can change or update your will at any time throughout your life, as circumstances require.
Is it expensive to have a will prepared?
There is no set price attached to the preparation of a will. The fee to prepare a will that addresses your specific needs will depend upon the complexity of your situation and intentions.
When I do a basic estate plan for a client, I prepare the three essential estate planning documents: the will, the power of attorney, and the healthcare power of attorney/living will.