Pennsylvania law generally allows individuals to challenge your will if there is reason to believe that it isn’t valid. A will may be invalid if it was created as the result of undue influence, wasn’t signed by witnesses or was created by someone who lacked the capacity to do so.

Wills must generally be in writing

It may be possible to create a video will to further clarify your wishes or to better communicate your intent to surviving family members. However, a video will is unlikely to be considered valid by a probate judge. Therefore, it is important that you only make such a will if you have already put your final instructions in writing. While oral wills may be considered valid, this is generally only true if they are created when a person is close to death.

Other components of a legal will

A will must be signed only by witnesses who are not beneficiaries of your estate. State law may also require that the document be notarized. Furthermore, the document must specify the names of those who will inherit assets as well as the names of those who are excluded from it. If a guardian has been appointed for your minor children, be sure that his or her name is included in the will. Finally, don’t forget to reveal the identity of the executor as well as any alternate executors.

Taking steps today to avoid estate litigation and disputes may save surviving family members time and money defending against legal challenges. Avoiding legal challenges may also preserve relationships between family members and ensure that an estate can be settled in a timely manner. Assets cannot be transferred from an estate to an intended beneficiary until after a judge gives permission to do so.