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Wills Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Executing a Last Will and Testament is one of the most important actions a person can take during a lifetime. A will helps protect the financial security and well-being of your family.

When people die intestate (without a will), family members have to face a battle over the decedent’s estate on top of coping with the loss. Having a will can protect your legacy and save your loved ones significant hassle. Consider speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you execute a will that meets the unique needs of your family.

Our knowledgeable wills attorney at Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., can dedicate his time to listening to your concerns and needs to help you create a will that most accurately reflects your goals, wishes, and long-term plans. We help clients with estate planning needs in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

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Types of Wills

When creating a will, people can choose between several types of wills. Common wills include:

  1. Simple or Basic Will. A simple or basic will is the most common type of will that allows the testator (the person who executes the document) to decide how property will be distributed to beneficiaries and name a guardian for minor children, among other provisions.

  2. Testamentary Trust Will. With this type of will, the testator can place a portion of assets or all assets into a trust, which would open upon the testator’s death.

  3. Joint Will. Many married couples across Pennsylvania choose to create joint wills. With a joint will, couples can merge both wills into a single document. This type of will is also known as a mirror will.

  4. Living Will. Unlike other types of wills, a living will does not outline the testator’s wishes for the distribution of assets. Instead, it details the testator’s desires regarding the medical treatment received in the event of incapacity.

What Is Included in the Will?

Simple wills contain the following information:

  • The testator’s name

  • The testator’s address

  • The appointment of the executor of the testator’s estate (the executor will be responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will)

  • The list of the testator’s assets

  • The people the testator wants to leave assets to

  • The appointment of a guardian for minor children

  • Death and burial preferences

If you are not sure what to include in a will or if you can benefit from a will, you must consult with a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, estate planning attorney at Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C.

Why Having a Will is Important

Possessing a will is crucial because it determines how your property will be distributed, and it allows you to speed up the probate process. Probate is usually a lengthy and costly process. Having a will informs the probate court how the deceased person’s estate should be handled. Another advantage of executing a will is that it can minimize estate taxes.

In Pennsylvania, when a person dies intestate (without a will), the property will be distributed to heirs according to the state’s intestacy laws. These laws spell out how a deceased person’s property is distributed to heirs upon death based on the heirs’ relationship to the decedent.

Difference Between a Will and a Trust

Some people do not understand the difference between a will and trust, and many conclude that you cannot have both. The truth is that you can create both a will and trust. In fact, doing so can provide maximum protection to your legacy and loved ones.

Wills do not become effective until after the testator’s death, while trusts go into effect as soon as the person signs the document. Having a will allows the testator to spell out wishes regarding the distribution of the property, outline final arrangements, and name guardians for minor children. A trust, on the other hand, specifies how the person’s assets and matters should be managed in the event of incapacity or death. Having a trust also allows you to distribute assets to the beneficiaries without the probate court.

Wills Attorney Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you want to plan for the future today, consult with our attorney at Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., to help you create and execute your will. Our attorney can help clients understand the probate process, assisting with creating valid legal documents, including wills and trusts. We also provide estate planning services to people and proudly serve clients in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.