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Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament

Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament


Jennifer Mcgee


Updated on  

January 25, 2023

9 mins


Making a Pennsylvania last will and testament are essential for your estate planning. It helps explain your wishes about your affairs, from who would get the family home to your healthcare treatments. You should waste no time and create your Pennsylvania last will and testament to manage your estate's future. It will never be too late or early to begin your estate planning or will. Therefore, you should start the work, read why estate planning is essential, and create your last will now.

Requirements for a Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament 

Every state in the U.S. has varying conditions to make a legal last will and testament. You need to follow the guidelines to ensure that your will upholds in court and doesn't lead to any issues for your family. Here are the conditions you need to follow for your Pennsylvania last will and testament:

  • Written will: Generally, a Pennsylvania last will and testament should be written on paper. It cannot be audio, video, or other digital file forms. 
  • Must be at least 18 or above
  • Sound mind and memory: The testator should understand the process, nature of their property, and relationships with the beneficiaries. They must have a sound mind and memory to make a valid legal will.
  • Signed by the testator: To make it legal, you must sign your Pennsylvania last will and testament at the end. Any words or instructions after your signature won't be legal.
  • Witnesses: You don't need witnesses for a Pennsylvania last will. However, if you're using a mark as a signature for the will, you should have two people as witnesses. They should sign it in your presence and vice versa.
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“Should have done this before, had made it up to be really hard in my head. This was super easy!”

Holographic wills in Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania also allows Holographic or handwritten wills. It means that you can write your own will in your handwriting in Pennsylvania. 

However, you need to fulfill the same conditions to make your holographic last will legal as you would do for a new Pennsylvania last will.

Pennsylvania rules for a personal representative or an executor 

You should pick a trusted person as your executor for the Pennsylvania last will. However, they must fulfill these conditions to be eligible for the role:

  1. Must be at least 18 or above
  2. They should be capable of performing the job, i.e., of a sound mind.

Pennsylvania Last Will and Testament Notarization.

You don't need to notarize your Pennsylvania last will to make it legal. However, you should add a self-proving affidavit to speed up the probate. A Pennsylvania last will doesn't require witnesses to be legal. However, they may call for witnesses during the probate process. That's why a self-proving will would be better. 

Here's how you can do that:

  • Find a notary public to make a legal, self-proving affidavit.
  • You and your two witnesses should go to the notary and sign the self-proving affidavit, stating who you are and that you knew you were signing a will.

Last Will Revocation in Pennsylvania 

You could follow any of these steps to revoke your Pennsylvania last will and testament:

  • Destroying the last will by tearing, burning, and shredding.
  • Asking somebody else to destroy the last will in front of you and two witnesses 
  • Making a new legal will
  • Making a new document stating the revocation of the previous will

You need to follow the same guidelines for issuing a new will or document revoking the previous will as you did for making a legal last will.

Pennsylvania Last Will Amendment Rules 

If you need to make some simple changes to your Pennsylvania last will, you could do it with a Codicil. It allows you to change your will and avoid revoking it.

However, you must follow the same conditions to make a legal codicil for signing as for a new will. If you want to make multiple amendments, it's better to create a new last will and revoke the previous one.

Pennsylvania rules for divorce or marriage after making your last will

If you marry after you made your Pennsylvania last will and testament, this will happen:

  • Your spouse would receive part of your estate according to the intestacy laws of Pennsylvania. 
  • If you've given more to them in the will than they would receive according to the intestacy law, they'll follow the will.
  • If you mention that you considered your marriage while creating the last will, your wishes would be followed. 

If you divorce after making your last will:

  • The Pennsylvania law revokes any property or estate part you left to your spouse.
  • Revokes any language that names your spouse to be the executor 
  • However, if the will states that divorce shouldn't affect your will's provisions, the state would follow your entire last will.

What happens if you don't have a Will in Pennsylvania?


What happens 

Has children, no spouse 

Children inherit the estate 

Has a spouse, no children, no parents 

The spouse inherits the estate 

Has a spouse, and children 

The spouse gets the first 30,000$ along with one-half of the remaining estate. The children inherit the remaining estate 

Has a spouse, and children; the surviving spouse isn't the parent of the deceased's children 

The spouse gets one-half and the children inherit the other half of the estate 

Has a spouse and parents 

The spouse gets the first 30,000$ along with one-half of the remaining estate. The parents inherit the remaining estate

Has parents, no spouse, no children 

The parents inherit everything 

Has siblings, no parents, no spouse, no children 

The siblings inherit the estate 

Last Will and Testament Pennsylvania  Free Template

You can quickly create a simple estate plan by downloading a Last Will and Testament Pennsylvania free template. It will be the best option if you don't have a large estate or complicated finances. You could check out the template and follow the necessary requirements to make your new Pennsylvania  last will and testament. Once you go through the details and follow the required steps:

  1. Connect on TrulyWill and create your account.
  2. Discuss any issues or complications about your finances and personal relationships with our attorneys.
  3. Sign or notarize the document, depending on your state requirements. 

This template and sample last will and testament would allow you to examine what your will would look like. You can change the will template depending on your personal preferences for estate distribution. 

Some instances where it would be prudent to consult our experts before finalizing your will would be when you have a high net worth or complicated family and personal relationships. We also provide additional services for those unique requests:

  • Online expert support: You can connect with our experts online and clear your doubts.
  • Attorney support: For some specific and unique requirements, we also offer additional attorney support services for your will and trust.

If you're facing any of these issues, it's essential to consult an expert before proceeding. They could personally help you out with any doubts and create a solid and legally enforceable Pennsylvania  last will and testament. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen if someone passes away without a will?

The state's intestacy laws will be followed if someone dies without a will. The interested parties, like the spouse or children, would have to go through a probate process to get their share in the estate.

Can I write down my wishes and consider them a legal will?

Several states do not allow a self-written will unless you've followed the requirements. It would always be better to create a legal will by following all your state rules.

What does a personal representative/executor do?

The executor of your will would be responsible for managing and settling your estate distribution after you pass away. It's always better to name a trusted adult as your personal representative.

Can I leave my spouse or family out of my will?

You can leave all your assets to anyone you want. It can be a stranger or an organization. However, you should consult an expert before finalizing the will to avoid any issues.

Can I decide who would look after my minor children in my will?

Yes, you should name a person as the guardian of your children in your will. It would help avoid any hassles, and they could look after your kids after you pass away.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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Jennifer Mcgree
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