Research guides

Pennsylvania Wills, Trusts, and Estates

Drafting Wills

A will is "[t]he legal expression of an individual's wishes about the disposition of his or her property after death." More specifically, it is "a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death." Will, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

In Pennsylvania, "a will is the legal declaration of one's intentions which he or she wills to be performed after his or her death. It is essential to a valid will that it be executed according to statutory requirements, and that it be the free act of one having a sound, disposing mind, memory, and understanding." P.L.E.2d Wills § 61 (2006).

Generally, Pennsylvania statutes on wills are found at 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 2501-2521. Additional will-related laws may be included in other areas of the Pennsylvania Statutes. Use the index volumes or conduct a search to find relevant statutes. For where to find Pennsylvania statutes, see the Pennsylvania Statutes guide.

The resources listed below are a selection of the secondary materials related to wills in Pennsylvania. It may be beneficial to also look at the resources listed in the Estate Practice & Planning page of this guide. Additional material may be available at Jenkins. Search the Jenkins' catalog for will* and limit the location to Pennsylvania for a more detailed list. Visitors to Jenkins may also want to browse the shelves around call numbers KFP140 through KFP144.

Forms

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also available on the library's Lexis computers.
See Chapter 65: Wills.

Estate Planning in Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Bar Institute
See Chapter 3: Drafting the Will. Includes forms.
Library also has previous editions: see all.

PA Legal Forms Gale
Member database available to all members. Includes a variety of forms relating to wills, including "Complex Will with Credit Shelter Marital Trust for Large Estates", "Legal Last Will and Testament Form for Widow or Widower with Minor Children", and "Mutual Wills Package of Last Wills and Testaments for Man and Woman living together not Married with Adult Children".

Pennsylvania Transaction Guide: Legal Forms LexisNexis
Also available on library's Lexis computers. Also referred to as Bongiovanni.
See chapters 60-74. Topics include "Standard Wills", "Marital Deduction Wills", and "Conditional Estates and Future Interests".

West's Pennsylvania Forms West
Also available on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Estate Planning, chapters 5-18. Topics include "Wills for Unmarried Persons with Children", "Wills for Married Persons with Children", and "Wills for Married Persons without Children and with Taxable Estates".

Research Tip

Forms may also be included in the other resources listed on this page.

Member Databases

PA Legal Forms
Member database available to all members. Includes a variety of forms relating to wills, including "Complex Will with Credit Shelter Marital Trust for Large Estates", "Legal Last Will and Testament Form for Widow or Widower with Minor Children", and "Mutual Wills Package of Last Wills and Testaments for Man and Woman living together not Married with Adult Children".

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library. See "Wills" (vol. 52-53).
Also available on the library's Lexis computers and in print.

Onsite Print & Electronic

Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms LexisNexis
Also available on the library's Lexis computers.
See Chapter 65: Wills.

Law of Wills in Pennsylvania: Drafting, Interpreting, Contesting, with Forms Bisel
Includes forms. Library also has previous edition: see all.

Pennsylvania Estate Planning, Wills, and Trusts Library: Forms and Practice Manual Data Trace Pub.
Includes forms.

Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia LexisNexis
Also available on the library's Lexis computers and the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See "Wills" (vols. 52-53). Library also has previous edition: see all.

Pennsylvania Orphans' Court Commonplace Book Bisel
Also referred to as Hunter's. See "Wills". Library also has previous edition: see all.

Pennsylvania Transaction Guide: Legal Forms LexisNexis
Also available on the library's Lexis computers. Also referred to as Bongiovanni.
See chapters 60-74. Topics include "Standard Wills", "Marital Deduction Wills", and "Conditional Estates and Future Interests".

Summary of Pennsylvania Jurisprudence 2d West
Also available on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Probate, Estates, and Trusts, Part 1: Succession, Subpart A: Devolution of Property through Wills - Creation and Construction of Wills (chapters 1-7). Library also has previous edition.

West's Pennsylvania Forms West
Also available on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Estate Planning, chapters 5-18. Topics include "Wills for Unmarried Persons with Children", "Wills for Married Persons with Children", and "Wills for Married Persons without Children and with Taxable Estates".

PBI Publications

Drafting Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania PBI Press
Includes forms. Library has previous editions: see all.

Estate Planning in Pennsylvania
See Chapter 3: Drafting the Will. Includes forms.
Library has previous editions: see all.

How to Draft a Simple Will
Includes forms.

Wills of the Rich and Famous
Includes forms. Library has previous editions: see all.

Wills v. Trusts: A Primer on the Right Tools for Your Client