Wills And Contesting Wills In Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Attorneys Handling Wills

The first thing that comes to mind when many Philadelphia residents think about estate planning is the drafting of a last will and testament. Having these documents in place is the first step for all individuals and their families regardless of the value of assets accumulated or the age and health of the person creating the will.

If you live in the Philadelphia area and have concerns regarding wills, trusts or any other estate planning issue please contact the estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Erik B. Jensen. Dial(215) 546-4700. After business hours please dial (888) 551-7149.

Protecting Your Assets and Avoiding Family Disputes

Drafting a will can offer you significant peace of mind for you as it assures you that your wishes will be carried out after your passing. For many Philadelphia residents, the most important reason for creating a will is to do everything possible to protect assets and provide for loved ones. Another important factor is making sure your wishes are clear in order to avoid family conflict, misunderstandings or strife.

The estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Erik B. Jensen have assisted many people, in a full range of circumstances, with the drafting of sound wills that make their intentions clear, straightforward and legally enforceable. Our experience includes serving the needs of:

  • •Married couples and individuals looking to provide for the futures of their young children
  • •Older people who have health concerns or whose financial or life circumstances have changed, creating a need for revisions to their will, trusts, health care directives or other existing estate documents
  • •Individuals and families across the economic spectrum with a full range of unique estate planning needs

Drafting Wills That Account for All Contingencies

When it comes to estate planning experience counts. We are experienced attorneys and will assist you with all aspects of drafting and filing your will and other important estate planning documents. In addition, we offer the care, client service and personal attention you need to achieve your goals. Our experience in estate litigation and in handling various types of probate cases is a strong asset, enabling us to anticipate and guard against any problems that could come up in executing your will. The last thing you want is for your survivors to fight amongst themselves, spending time and money in court arguing over the terms of your estate plan and the nature of your last intentions. We will ensure that your intentions are made very clear. As your estate planning attorneys we will also guard against the possibility that anyone will raise a challenge to, or contest, your will.

Living Wills In Philadelphia

A living will is a type of an advanced directive. They are established so that people can maintain control of their affairs, particularly in regards to medical care, while they are still alive but are unable to make their own decisions. If you have questions regarding drafting a living will in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area it behooves you to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Living wills are almost always focused towards medical care and health care. They outline courses of treatment that are to be followed by medical professionals and caregivers. These courses of treatment often times prohibit the use of very taxing, unnecessary and cumbersome medical treatments such as chemotherapy, hospice relief, ventilators, resuscitation and feeding via nasogastric tubes.

A living will is only used if the individual is unable to give informed consent due to incapacity. Living wills, like all estate planning documents, are incredibly complex legal entities that should only be handled by a skilled and experienced estate planning attorney.

Legal Grounds For Contesting A Will in Pennsylvania

People who have lost a loved one and are (or feel they should or will be) beneficiaries to the deceased person’s estate, can challenge the will according to Pennsylvania estate planning law. Family members, and those close to the deceased, can elect to dispute, or contest, a will for very specific reasons, which are explained in detail below. These are not the only possible reasons for contesting a will however.

According to Pennsylvania estate planning law, the author of the will has to have passed away. A will is not in effect until the person who wrote the will, also known as the testator, dies. Beneficiaries and others who claim to be heirs have no legal “say” in the matter as long as the testator is alive. Once the testator has died there are several different legal grounds for contesting a will.

Reasons For Contesting A Will In PA

Duress-Duress is when a person acts against their normal nature in response to the improper actions of another. This is sometimes done by threat of violence. An adult son or daughter threatening an elderly parent with violence unless the will is rewritten and the entire estate is left to them is an example of a will being written under duress. A will written and/or executed under duress is invalid.

Undue Influence– Undue influence is very similar to duress in that it reflects the wrongdoer’s intent and best interest and not the testator’s intentions. The primary difference is that undue influence pertains more to manipulation and control rather than outright threats. Psychological domination is a very common method of undue influence.

Forgery/Fraud– A forged, fraudulent or fake will is legally invalid as it was not written or executed by the deceased person. Many times an heir or beneficiary to forge or falsify a will. Other times, an interested third party can create a fraudulent will that benefits themselves, an heir or beneficiary.

Lack Of Testamentary Capacity- If the person is mentally incompetent at the time of writing or executing a will, the will should be considered invalid from a legal standpoint. There is a set of criteria that must be met to be considered competent to write, sign & execute a will. Initially it must be determined that a person has sufficient mental faculties to understand what a will is. They must also be able to grasp what their property, assets or possessions consist of. In addition, they must also acknowledge who their family members are and what property or assets they wish to leave to each of them in the will. Lack of Testamentary Capacity is one of the most common reasons a will is contested by heirs or beneficiaries.

Revocation Or Suppression– A will that is not the most current version of the testator’s desires is invalid and should be contested as such. Someone with a fair amount of real property or assets to leave to heirs or beneficiaries often will execute multiple version of their will over the course of a lifetime. A superseded will is an early version of a current will. Outdated wills can be disputed easily if a current version is provided. If more than one will is written the will written closest to the date of death will be considered valid.

Contact A Philadelphia Attorney Handling Wills

Whether you need a basic will and power of attorney or you have more complex needs such as the creation of a trust or advanced tax planning, please do not hesitate to contact the Philadelphia estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Erik B. Jensen located in center city Philadelphia. We care about your specific needs and work hard to deliver the best available solutions with maximum cost-effectiveness for you.

Dial (215) 546-4700 or (888) 551-7149 for a free consultation.