Secure the Future for Your Loved Ones
No one likes to think about their final moments, or what their family will do after they pass. But for anyone who has a home or personal property, and especially those who have a spouse or children, the importance of drafting a will cannot be overstated. A will can secure the future for loved ones left behind and can bring its maker peace of mind that all valuables will be taken care of after he or she passes.
Massachusetts has certain laws pertaining to wills. When they are not written up properly, they can be rendered void and thrown out of court. When this happens, the deceased’s estate is “intestate” and goes into probate. That person’s final wishes may not be fulfilled. Even if a father wanted his son to have a specific item, it can’t be proven if it’s not in writing, and things get messy. If you haven’t yet drafted a will, speak to one of our lawyers at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. today. We can help.
How Do You Make a Legal Will in Massachusetts?
A will is simply a document that allows a person to state how he or she wants property, children, and even remains to be distributed or disposed of after death. In Massachusetts, wills may be made by any individual age 18 or older who is of sound mind.
In order to make the will legal in Massachusetts, the “testator” or person making the will, must:
- Provide the will in writing,
- Sign the will himself, or have another person sign it in his presence on his behalf,
- Sign in the presence of two witnesses, and have them sign the will themselves.
However, there are also “self-proved wills” – in fact, most wills in Massachusetts are self-proved wills, which do not include any witness signatures. These wills must have an affidavit attached, and that affidavit must be sworn to under oath in the presence of a notary public or justice of the peace.
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What Happens If You Don’t Make a Will?
Everyone over the age of 18 should prepare a will. The simple fact is that no one knows when he or she is going to pass away. And when a person passes away without a written will, the courts will decide how to distribute assets and other property, as well who will take over legal guardianship of any minor children. This is done through probate, and it usually takes one to two years to complete.
In most cases, the courts will distribute the majority of the property to a surviving spouse and when there is no spouse, to any surviving children. When there are no children and the deceased did not have a spouse, any property will then be distributed to the parents. When the parents are not alive, to siblings. In some cases, grandparents and children of grandparents may also be awarded the property.
When a person passes away in Massachusetts without a will or surviving close relatives, the property will become the property of the state of Massachusetts, unless the deceased was a veteran who died while a member of the Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts or the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. Then, the assets will go to those homes. This process is known as escheat.
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Why You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer
Having a written will is extremely important, but it’s just as important to seek the help of a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer. Writing a will can be stressful and cause great anxiety. Attorneys can help people put aside their emotions and understand what they need to do, and why. Most importantly, an estate planning lawyer can ensure that a written will meets the legal requirements of Massachusetts, thereby ensuring that the demands and requests contained in the document will be carried out.
If you have not yet written a will and want to make sure your property and children will be taken care of, there is no better time to start preparing. Contact DiBella Law Offices, P.C., today at (781) 262-3338. We know what the law requires surrounding wills in Massachusetts, and we can help you create one.