What is a will?

A will is a written document, signed by a person at least 18 years of age and of sound mind, which directs the manner of distribution of assets owned by the decedent at the time of death. The will should name an executor to probate the will after death and to carry out the administration of the estate. A will may also appoint guardians of the estate of minors who will receive property under the will.

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1. What is a will?
2. Should everyone have a will?
3. Is my will on file with the Register of Wills?
4. What happens if you don't have a will?
5. When is a will effective?
6. Must a will be witnessed?
7. When should a will be changed?
8. If I am named in a will, can I simply assume responsibilities to carry out the terms of the will?
9. If a short certificate is needed to liquidate or receive certain assets of a decedent, can I purchase one from the Register of Wills?
10. Does a valid will avoid Pennsylvania Inheritance Taxes?
11. Must a lawyer write a will?