Creating a last will and testament is an important step you can take to make sure that your assets go to the people you’d like them to after your death.
You don’t need substantial assets to benefit from having a will that memorializes your wishes for your property and other issues in a legalized recognized way. If you die without a will, your property will be distributed based on Massachusetts law, in a manner that might not be anything like what you would have chosen. It’s never pleasant to contemplate one’s passing, but taking the steps needed to properly pass your assets to your heirs, is well worth the effort. When you’re ready, it’s important to choose a patient and caring Massachusetts last will and testament attorney to help you draft a will that brings peace of mind to you and your family members. Call the Botelho Law Group at (888) 269-0688 to schedule a consultation.
Wills Are Not Just For Transferring Property
In Massachusetts, a last will and testament can be used to specify things other that just transferring property such as:
- Naming a guardian for minor children;
- Naming a person to manage the property left to minor children and
- Naming an executor that you believe is best able to ensure that you will is carried out as you intended.
If you’d like to use your will to lay out your wishes for non-property matters such as providing a guardian for minor children, it’s important to work with an experienced Massachusetts last will and testament attorney that can ensure that your will is properly drafted and executed.
Requirements For Wills In Massachusetts
Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) c. 190B § 2-501 requires a person, called the “testator,” to be of sound mind and over the age of eighteen to make a will. The law generally states that the will must shall be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator and
- Signed by at least two witnesses.
Like with most laws, there are various exceptions and special rules that may apply to your particular circumstances. For example, there is an exception to the need for witnesses for what’s called a “holographic will,” that is handwritten by the testator. M.G.L. c. 190B § 2-507 specifies that a will can be revoked by physically destroying the document, but with today’s technology that makes it difficult to distinguish originals from copies, it’s prudent to have a statement in your new will that specifically revokes any prior wills. Laws are constantly changing and wills with flaws can be found invalid during probate, that’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced Massachusetts last will and testament attorney to ensure that your will is properly drafted and executed.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the court supervision process that is required to distribute a person’s assets after their death. When a person has a valid will, the executor specified is usually appointed to gather the assets, pay the debts and taxes of the estate and then to transfer the assets to the intended recipients. This process usually takes about a year, due mostly to the time allotted for creditors of the estate to come forward with their claims. The process can take much longer if the will is contested, that’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Massachusetts last will and testament attorney that helps you draft a will that is less likely to be contested.
If you die without a will in Massachusetts, your property will be distributed to your heirs under Massachusetts laws of “intestacy.” Your property will be given to your closest relatives, starting with your spouse and children. If you don’t have a living spouse or children, your assets will go to your parents or grandchildren. When none of these relatives exist, the state will try to find siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncles, nieces and nephews. After the court exhausts all leads for your blood relatives or relatives by marriage, the state will take the money. Understanding the laws of intestacy is especially important to single people without children that might want to give their assets to a close friend, which would require a will. It’s also important to consider how dying without a will could cause hardship to your family by causing a feud over rights to your assets.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Last Will and Testament Attorneys
If you’re making a last will and testament, it’s important to hire the best Fall River, Massachusetts last will and testament attorneys to ensure that your will is properly drafted and executed. The Botelho Law Group is the most well-respected estate planning firm in Fall River, Massachusetts. Call (888) 269-0988 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723