Pennsylvania law only acknowledges wills that meet certain requirements. You may have the mistaken belief that anything you could work as a will. But, in reality, certain rules must be followed to ensure your will is valid.

What are oral and written wills?

The Pennsylvania General Assembly discusses everything you need to know about wills. In specific, they look at how Pennsylvania law treats wills. First, there are holographic and nuncupative wills. These are also known as written and oral wills. A written will is anything you write by hand. An oral will is something you dictate to another person by mouth. 

Under Pennsylvania law, oral wills are not valid. Holographic wills are still recognized if they are signed at the end thereof.  Anything written after your signature would not be valid.

Can you legally write a will?

There is an age limitation, too. Only those who are 18 years of age or older may write a valid will. You must also be of sound mind, which means you know the natural objects of your bounty (such as a spouse or children or your siblings or parents or, if you have no family, friends or charities) and have some idea about your assets or estate.

A will can be signed by mark or by another at the testator’s direction if the testator cannot sign, provided there are two (2) witnesses present who also sign their names to the will in the testator’s presence.

The law does not require witnesses if the testator signs, but it is better to two (2) witnesses who also sign the will in the testator’s presence. In their presence, the testator must declare that what is being signed is a will. It is also a good idea, but not required, to sign in the presence of a notary public and have the will notarized.