Wills in Pennsylvania

By Beverly Bird

Title 20, Sections 2501 through 3132, of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes lists the state’s laws regarding wills. In some respects, they are more lenient than statutes in other states, but if you write your own will, it may still be prudent to have an attorney review the finished product to ensure it accomplishes everything you want and that your county’s Register of Wills, who accepts and approves wills after death, will not declare it invalid because of some technical shortcoming.


Witnesses to a will are not normally required in Pennsylvania, according to Ginger Golden, the Wayne County Register of Wills in 2010. However, if you are unable to sign your own name and need someone else to do it for you, then each of you will require two witnesses. You can make a will in Pennsylvania if you are older than 18 and are of sound mind.


If you make your will in another state, then move to Pennsylvania and pass away there, your will does not have to comply with Pennsylvania’s statutes. However, it must comply with all the requirements of the state where you made it.

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Effects of Marriage

Most states invalidate any bequests made to an ex-spouse after divorce and Pennsylvania is no exception. This provision of the state’s statutes can only be overridden if your will specifically states that you don’t want the divorce to have any effect on the bequest. Pennsylvania does not allow you to disinherit a spouse. If you do so inadvertently by failing to make a new will naming him after you marry, then he is still entitled to a portion of your estate by law, equal to what he would have received if you had died without a will. Any property you own jointly with your spouse, such as real estate and investment accounts, overrides your will and passes directly to him on your death, regardless of divorce.


You can revoke your will in writing in Pennsylvania, or you can simply destroy it by burning it or tearing it up. If someone else destroys it on your behalf, however, they might have to testify in court later that they did it at your direction. If you revoke your will in writing by making a new will that expressly annuls the first one, then you revoke the second one as well, your first will does not automatically take effect again.

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Are Handwritten Wills Legal in South Carolina?


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Rules in Nebraska for Holographic Wills

Nebraska is one of 26 states as of 2009 that accept holographic wills if they meet certain requirements. A holographic will is one handwritten by the testator, or the person who is making it. If you handwrite your will, it may be to your advantage to have an attorney look it over to make sure it achieves everything you intend so that the probate court will not have problems interpreting it after your death.

How to Make Your Will Legal in Indiana

Your will is a document that explains how to distribute some or all of your property when you die. Wills written in Indiana are governed by the Indiana Probate Code, which is found at Title 29 of the Indiana Code. The Indiana Probate Code gives specific instructions about how to write a will so that it will be recognized as valid and legal by an Indiana Court. You will need to meet several requirements to have a valid Indiana will. You can write your own valid will, but consulting a lawyer for more complicated estates is advisable to ensure compliance with state law.

Tennessee Laws on Wills

Tennessee’s laws regarding wills are specific and exact. If your will is deemed invalid by the court for not meeting one of the state’s many requirements, your possessions will be distributed as though you had left no will at all. Although you can certainly write your own will, it is advisable that an attorney look at it to make sure it conforms to Tennessee’s statutes so your chosen beneficiaries receive exactly what you intended them to.

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