A will and a living will can be key components of any Pennsylvania resident’s estate plan. If you die without a valid will, state law will typically determine who gets your assets or who becomes the guardian for a minor child. If you don’t have a living will, family members may have to make medical decisions for you.
Specific reasons to create a living will
If you become incapacitated, you won’t be able to communicate with your doctor or other medical professionals. A living will can tell those individuals if you would like to be placed on a respirator or receive other types of care to help extend your life. For a living will to be valid, it must generally be signed by two witnesses who are not directly responsible for your care.
Why you should have a will
If you are of sound mind and at least 18 years of age, you are likely eligible to create a will. As with a living will, a valid last will and testament needs to be signed by two witnesses. Typically, these witnesses must be individuals of sound mind who have no interest in your estate. In addition to appointing a guardian for your children and dictating how your assets should be distributed, a will gives you the power to appoint an executor. This person is responsible for overseeing your estate after you pass away.
An estate planning attorney may help you create wills, living wills and other plan documents. If you have created these or other plan documents on your own, he or she may review them to determine if they comply with state law. This may help ensure that your wishes are respected in case you become incapacitated or pass away.