When you make a Will, you take control of every aspect of what will happen to your property when you die, and if you have a large estate, what death taxes your estate can save, depending upon how the will is drafted. You can name the Guardian of your choice to care for surviving minor children.
You can create within the Will or in a separate Trust document a trust to hold property inherited by minors until they reach an older age decided by you. The person who manages a Trust is known as a Trustee.
You can make sure your spouse inherits whatever portion of your estate you desire (but not less than the intestate share of a decedent’s surviving spouse provided for in the Probate, Estate, and Fiduciary Code, described above.) Many people want to leave all or most of their estate to a surviving spouse, which may not happen under the Code if you do not have a will.
You may want to leave all or part of your estate to a close friend or significant other who is not a spouse. You can do this with a Will, but NOT without one. Pennsylvania no longer recognizes common law marriages. Even if you present a significant other to the public as your spouse and the two of you do not have a marriage license, that significant other will not be treated as a spouse under the Pennsylvania law of intestate succession contained in the Code.
You may want to leave part of your estate to a charity, which provides a tax deduction under both the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax and the Federal Estate Tax.
You may want to leave money in trust for surviving pets, and appoint a caregiver.
You may have other wishes to express in a will, rather than leaving your survivors wondering what you desire.
When you make a Will, you appoint a trusted friend or family member to serve as the Executor (male) or Executrix (female), (either can be referred to as a Personal Representative) who has the responsibility of carrying out your wishes expressed in your Will, distributing your estate as your Will directs, and paying your Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, and in the case of larger estates, your Federal Estate Tax. An Estate Administrator is one who replaces an Executor or Executrix who dies before your Estate Administration, also known as Probate, is completed. You can name such an alternate in your Will, and if all the alternates have pre-deceased you, the Court will appoint an Administrator, generally in the order of your survivors listed as intestate survivors above.
Making a Will is the first step in estate planning, and we are here to help you do that. Just give us a call or email us to make an appointment.