Those who live in Pennsylvania and elsewhere must generally have witnesses sign their will to make it valid. As a general rule, a witness is anyone 18 or over who is of sound mind when he or she signs the document, although some states have no state age requirement. A lawyer who helps to create the will generally cannot be a witness. The same is in most cases true of anyone named as a beneficiary in the document.
While not always required, it is a good idea to have the witnesses sign the will at the same time that the testator signs it. Doing so may prevent creating grounds for a legal challenge to the will in the future. Once the will has been completed and signed by the witnesses, a testator should notify the executor of his or her estate about its existence.
As there is no formal requirement to file a will prior to death, the executor will need to know where it is located. Typically, a will is valid in any state where an individual passes away assuming that the will is valid in the state in which it was created. However, individuals are encouraged to check the laws in any state that they move to and make changes if necessary.
Those who are looking to create or update a will may wish to talk with an attorney. While legal counsel is not required to make such a move, it may reduce the chances of a legal challenge. When done properly, it may be harder for others to claim that a will was created or updated because of undue influence by another person or entity. This may make it easier for heirs to receive their inheritance in a timely manner after the testator passes away.