What is the Law regarding Living Will/Advance Directive or Healthcare Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania?

If you wish to execute or make a living will:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.
  • You must sign and date the document.
  • Two persons must witness your signature and they must be at least 18 years old.
  • The Living Will/Advance Directive does not need to be, but should be notarized.
  • It can be changed at any time by you. In which case you should destroy the old one and advise others of the change. The same procedure must be compiled with as with the original.
  • You should give a copy to your family and your doctor, your attorney or clergy person, if you desire. Keep a copy in a secure place which is accessible by others if you become unable to act on your own behalf.
  • If you do not have a Living Will/Advance Directive, decisions concerning your medical care (if you are in a coma or permanent vegetative state) will be left to your spouse or family members. Your wishes may not be followed without written guidance.

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1. Where are you located?
2. What are your office hours?
3. Can I get information over the telephone?
4. How far back do your records go?
5. What records are available to the public?
6. Can anyone obtain records from your office?
7. What services does the Register of Wills provide?
8. What does it mean to register a will?
9. Why is a will registered or probated?
10. What is Probate?
11. What does the word intestate mean?
12. The decedent died without a will, now what do I do?
13. What is a short certificate?
14. Why do you keep the original will?
15. Does a will get registered or filed after it is written?
16. I cannot find the original will. I only have a copy. What can I do?
17. What is a testator?
18. What is a Will?
19. Should everyone have a Will?
20. What occurs when there is no Will?
21. When is a Will effective?
22. Does the Law require the signature of the Testator to be witnessed at the time of signing?
23. What property passes by Will?
24. Is there any limitation on the validity of a Will?
25. What are Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration?
26. Do I need an attorney to apply for Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration?
27. Who can be appointed administrator?
28. What do I need when I come to the office to open the estate? (Other applicable paperwork such as Renunciations or Bond)
29. Does your office assist in the preparation of the inheritance tax return?
30. What is Estate Administration?
31. When is formal Estate Administration required?
32. Who administers an estate?
33. What is the Law regarding Living Will/Advance Directive or Healthcare Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania?
34. Do I file a Living Will/Advance Directive in the Register of Wills Office?
35. Are Life Insurance Proceeds subject to Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax?
36. Are transfers made prior to the Decedent's death subject to Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax?
37. What are Spousal tax rates?
38. Does Pennsylvania recognize convenience accounts?
39. What does a Personal Representative do?
40. Is an Attorney necessary in Estate Administration?
41. What role does the Will have in Estate Administration?
42. What is done during Administration?
43. What fees are paid during administration?
44. What should be done first?