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Who belongs in a will

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2019 | Firm News

Naturally, when an individual thinks about the people he or she wants to include in a Pennsylvania last will and testament, they are probably the beneficiaries. While this is the crux of the document, heirs are not the only ones whose names should be included.

U.S. News & World Report suggests that a testator also should include these people in the will.

The executor of the estate

The personal representative has the responsibility of having the will validated before the judge, taking care of the estate’s liabilities, paying taxes, managing assets during the probate process and distributing them to the beneficiaries.

Because the duties can be complicated, the testator may choose a professional or a financial institution to fill the role. Regardless, it is critical to make sure that the chosen person or entity is willing and able to perform the tasks.

The guardian for minor children

If parents do not include the name of the person they want to raise their children, the court will decide for them after they die. The designation is not one to take lightly. The person chosen should love the children, share the parents’ values and be physically and mentally healthy enough to raise the children to adulthood.

The witnesses

According to Pennsylvania statutes § 2502(2) and (3), witnesses are not strictly necessary unless the testator cannot sign his or her own name. In that case, two witnesses must be present when the testator declares the document to be his or her will, and they must both sign their names in his or her presence.

If the testator anticipates that the document may cause conflict among the beneficiaries, it may be a good idea to have witnesses’ signatures to establish validity, even though it may not be strictly necessary.