A will is one of the best tools you can use to pass on your property to your loved ones. In fact, a will is the building block for most estate plans. It outlines how your assets will be distributed to your loved ones when you are no longer around to oversee the exercise.
Being one of the most important documents you will ever create and sign, it only makes sense that you have your will validated. To do so, you need to understand the basic elements of a will. Under Pennsylvania law, certain basic requirements must be in place to ensure that your will is valid.
Signature requirements for a will
In order to be valid, a will must be signed by the testator at the tail end of the document. Any writing after the signature cannot invalidate the writings that appear before the signature in the will document. The testator can sign the will by marking or nominate someone else to sign the testator’s name.
Signature by mark
If the testator is unable to sign their name, Pennsylvania law recognizes the mark made by the testator under their name as a valid signature. However, the testator is required to make this mark in the presence of two witnesses. They should also append their names to the will document in the presence of the testator. This is the only way to ensure that Pennsylvania law will recognize the mark.
Signature by another person
If for whatever reason, the testator is unable to sign their name or make a mark, they can nominate someone else’s to subscribe their name on the will document. This must be done in the presence of the testator and two other witnesses. The testator must state that the document is their will in the presence of these witnesses.
A will is a very important estate planning document. To be valid, it must meet certain requirements. Having a Will prepared by an experienced WIlls and Trusts Attorney and overseeing the proper execution of the Will can reduce the likelihood of a challenge to the validity of the Will, not only making sure that your estate plan is followed but saving your heirs the substantial costs that can be incurred in a dispute of the proper execution of the Will. If the document does meet proper requirements, it won’t be recognized as a Will and your assets will not be distributed as you wish.