Wills

If you are age 60 or older and in need of will we may be able to help depending on the county you live in (in some counties we contract with local Area Agencies on Aging who may be able to help).

A Living Will or Advance Directive permits you to determine what medical care decisions should be made or not made if you are in an end-of-life medical circumstance.  You may also name a person, sometimes called a surrogate, to either follow your living will instructions, or, if you wish, to have the surrogate make medical decisions for you if you become incapable of understanding and making your own end-of-life medical decisions.

A Will is a legal document which permits you to name the persons (heirs) who will receive your assets, for example, home, cash, cars, investments, after your death.  A Will must be in writing and signed and dated.  It is best, but not legally required, to have two witnesses also sign the will.  The Will does not require a notary in Pennsylvania.  If you own a home or other assets in joint names, for example, a bank account or a car, the title to the joint asset will generally become the sole property of the other person(s) whose name is on the property or account.  A Will does not generally apply to jointly titled property.   If someone dies without having a will, state law will determine which relatives will inherit your property.  If you have no relatives, the State will inherit your assets.

Probate means that after your death an “estate” is filed with the Register of Wills in your county.  An executor, usually named in your Will, will be appointed to manage your estate.  If you do not have a Will, an Administrator, usually a family member, will be appointed.  In probate, the Court supervises the management of your estate, the payment of any inheritance taxes, which can range from 0 to 15 percent depending on the family relationship between you and the heir(s), and oversee the proper distribution of your assets to your heirs.

Select a County to find related organizations and lawyer referral information for your area