You Control Who Gets What
If you die without a will, the most basic component of an estate plan, you are said to die "intestate." When this occurs, the things you owned upon you death pass to others not in accordance with your wishes, but in accordance with Pennsylvania intestate law. Sometimes this is acceptable because those laws may align with your wishes, but for many this is not ideal. For example, Pennsylvania law may dictate that a share of your estate go to a family member who you are not close with.
With a will, you control who gets what.
You Ease the Burden on Family
In addition, dying without a will makes the probate process more difficult on family members because, since there is no will, you have not named an executor of your estate. That is, you have not stated a preference for who should carry out the terms of the will and administer the estate during probate (the court process by which title to property in the decedent's estate changes to its new owner). A family member must petition the local register of wills for "letters of administration," which gives them the authority to administer the estate in accordance with Pennsylvania intestate law.
With a will, you ease the burden on family.
You Could Save on Taxes
At the state level, Pennsylvania imposes an inheritance tax which increases depending on how closely or remotely you are related to the family member that is receiving property from your estate. There is no tax on property left to a surviving spouse, but Pennsylvania intestate law requires the estate be split among the surviving spouse and surviving parents or children. Thus, the share going to surviving parents or children would be subject to the inheritance tax. With a will, you could have specified that all your property go to your surviving spouse, which would have passed inheritance tax-free.
With a will, you could save on taxes.
Interested in hiring Chestnut Hill Legal?
We offer free consultations and simple, flat fee pricing.
$750 for you. $1,250 for you and your spouse or partner.
Or, for a little more, consider an estate planning package,
which includes a will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney and living will.
To get started, submit the form below or call Louis P. DiLello, Esq. at (610) 999-2319.