Wills Attorneys in Reading, Pennsylvania
A will is a critical document in any estate plan. This legally-binding document is vital for preserving assets and achieving many other family and financial objectives. However, the process of drafting and executing a will is not as straightforward as it may seem. That is why you’ll need a skilled wills attorney to help you draft a customized estate plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.
If you need assistance with preparing a will or resolving disputes that may arise when executing or probating a will, our attorneys at Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC, can help. Our wills attorneys based in Reading, Pennsylvania, are dedicated to providing competent and reliable representation to clients throughout Berks County and surrounding counties.
Overview of Wills
A will is a valuable estate planning document that allows you to explain how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. With a will, which is also known as a last will and testament, you can provide instructions for distributing your real property, financial assets, and belongings after you pass away.
There are several types of wills that can be used to accomplish different objectives. Common types of wills include:
Testamentary wills. This is the traditional will, also known as a simple will, which outlines what should happen to your assets after the testator’s death. These wills are prepared in advance during the testator’s lifetime and signed in the presence of witnesses to be valid.
Holographic wills. These wills are documents written by hand. However, not all states recognize handwritten wills as valid, except when written in emergency situations as a last resort.
Oral wills. Orals wills are wills that are made verbally but not written out. However, most states, including Pennsylvania, do not recognize oral wills as valid.
Mutual wills. A mutual will is made by at least two people (most often by spouses) and represents two separate documents that are largely the same in content.
Pour-over wills. A pour-over will is a document that ensures that your assets are automatically transferred to your trust when you die.
A typical will covers the following elements:
The distribution of assets. You can provide detailed instructions to ensure that your assets are distributed to the intended beneficiaries according to your wishes.
Naming the executor. In a last will and testament, you can name the executor of your estate. The executor will represent your estate during probate after your death.
Guardianship. If you have minor children, you can use your will to name a guardian who would take care of your children in the event of your passing.
Everyone’s life is unique, which is why what to include in a will depends on your financial situation, family dynamics, and other circumstances. At Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC, our wills attorneys help clients in Reading and throughout the state of Pennsylvania draft a will tailored to their specific goals and needs. We strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to creating a will. That is why our estate planning attorneys are focused on providing personalized solutions to every client.
Why Having a Will Is Important
Having a will is important for a wide range of reasons. Some of the reasons why it is crucial to draft a last will and testament include:
Simplify the probate process. While having a will does not necessarily avoid probate, it can simplify the process.
Ensure that your assets go to the right people. If you die without a will, which is known as “dying intestate,” your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to your state’s intestate succession laws.
Make sure that someone you trust will take care of your kids. A will allows you to assign a guardian for your children. Thus, having a will gives you peace of mind knowing that someone you trust will care for your children if something happens to you.
Save your loved ones money and prevent conflicts. If you die with a will, you can save your loved ones significant expense and prevent unnecessary conflicts and disputes over who should inherit what.
Anyone can benefit from creating a will, regardless of their age, marital status, health, or wealth. If you are ready to get started, it is important that you seek legal counsel before creating any legal documents. An experienced wills attorney will help you draft a comprehensive and enforceable will that meets your unique needs.
Difference Between a Will and a Trust
Because wills and trusts perform a similar function—they name beneficiaries for your property— these two estate planning tools serve different specific purposes. Some of the key differences between a will and a trust include:
Wills go through probate, while assets held in a trust do not have to be probated
Trusts become effective immediately, while wills do not go into effect until after the testator’s death
Will proceedings are public record, while trust proceedings are confidential
Trusts might require more upkeep and maintenance than wills
If you cannot decide if you should create a will or a trust, speak with a knowledgeable estate planning to understand your options. However, just because a will and a trust are different does not necessarily mean you have to choose only one. Instead, a will and a trust can complement each other to make a comprehensive estate plan.
Wills Attorneys Serving
Planning for your future can be intimidating and overwhelming. That is why you’ll need the assistance of an experienced attorney to tackle estate planning. We pride ourselves on our ability to serve clients’ estate planning needs in a personal and individualized manner. If you need help creating a will in Reading, Pennsylvania, contact our wills attorneys at Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC.