Pa Last Wills – Purposes
A Last Will grants your Executor (Fiduciary) the ability to administer your Estate at your death.
Pa Last Wills – Fiduciary Traits
- Your Executor should be able and willing, first and foremost
- Your Executor under your Last Will should also be honest and diplomatic
Pa Last Wills – Common Misconceptions
The most common misconception that surrounds a Last Will is the process called Probate and the seemingly universal assumption that it should be avoided at all costs. Virtually to the contrary, the word Probate is merely the Latin infinitive verb that means to prove. Although some states do have onerous probate procedures (where the avoidance of probate may be a prudent strategy), Pennsylvania does not. In fact, probating your Last Will in Pennsylvania is very simple.
Another very common misconception that surrounds a Last Will is that it disposes of all of your assets at your death. Again, and virtually to the contrary, is the fact that your Last Will only disposes of your assets:
- that are owned in your name alone and
- that have no beneficiary designations
Consequently, items owned jointly with another, such as joint bank accounts, will be controlled by property law (and not by the laws governing Last Wills), and will pass to those joint owner(s) at your death. Items that have individual beneficiary designations, such as life insurance policies, will be controlled by contract law (and not by the laws governing Last Wills), and will pass to those individual designated beneficiaries at your death.