Even with all of the technology available today, some Pennsylvania residents still prefer the old-fashioned pencil and paper method. Whenever a thought comes to mind, it can simply be added to the list or a notation made on a piece of paper. This method may be great for day-to-day activities; however, when it comes to estate planning, a more formal process is generally preferred.

It may appear to be a good idea to simply list who should receive what and who should take care of things when the individual dies. However, this approach can lead to unnecessary cost and controversy. In some cases, a handwritten will may be acceptable, but there can be a number of problems associated with this approach. Questions regarding the will’s validity can easily arise.

Approximately nine months ago, Aretha Franklin’s family believed that she had passed away without leaving a will indicating how her approximately $80 million estate should be distributed. Recently, however, three handwritten wills were discovered in her home. Two of these will were discovered in a locked closet and the third was hidden among the sofa cushions. With such a large estate at stake, it is likely that each of these documents will be carefully scrutinized and possibly lead to even more questions and concerns which will need to be addressed.

The will is an important part of the estate planning process. It is what the court will turn to throughout the probate process. Due to the sensitive nature of this document, along with the Pennsylvania resident’s desire to minimize cost and controversy, working with an estate planning attorney can be advantageous.