By creating a will, you obtain greater control over what happens to assets held within your Pennsylvania estate. If you die before creating such a document, state law will determine who receives your car, funds in a bank account or other items that were titled solely in your name. If you have minor children, a will allows you to appoint someone to care for them.
A will helps to ensure that your assets are distributed to the right people
If you die intestate, there is a good chance that a spouse, child or sibling will receive a portion of your estate. This is typically true even if you don't have a strong relationship with them. By creating a will, you increase the chances that an item goes to someone who actually values it.
A will might reduce your estate tax bill
The terms of a will allow you to make gifts to friends, family members or charitable organizations at the time of your death. Gifting cash, a home or other items in your estate might help to reduce its overall value for estate tax purposes. An estate planning attorney may be able to talk more about how you can use this type of document to reduce the amount that is owed to the government.
When does a will take effect?
A will takes effect the moment that you pass away. The person appointed as your executor will present it to a probate judge to begin the process of settling your affairs. During probate, those who have standing to challenge the document will be given an opportunity to do so. Creditors may also make claims against your estate.
It's generally in your best interest to have an estate plan that includes a will. An attorney can review such a document to determine if it adheres to state law.