Massachusetts Wills Attorney
Many people put off going to a estate planning lawyer Massachusetts for as long as possible. Maybe they feel they are too young to need a will or that their estate is so uncomplicated that, in the event of their death, its disposition will be straightforward. Then, the unthinkable happens and the estate of the decedent, who is considered intestate, must go through probate, which may take months and result in the property not being distributed according to the deceased’s wishes. Anyone over the age of 18 and of sound mind may dispose of his or her personal and real property using a will. The person whose property is being distributed this way is called the testator. According to Massachusetts law, a will must be signed by either the testator or by a nominee and attested and signed in his presence by two competent witnesses. This is called an attested will.
Types of Wills for Individuals
A statutory or simple will is a state-specific template on which the testator has filled in the relevant information and ticked off boxes where required. This type of will works best for people with uncomplicated estates.
A Pour-over will may be used in situations where the testator has a living trust into which assets are transferred upon his or her death. In certain cases, however, not all of the testator’s property goes into the trust automatically. This type of will is used to “pour over” these assets into the trust after they have been through probate.
Contingent or Conditional wills stipulate conditions that must be met for a named individual to inherit their designated assets from the will. A beneficiary may have to reach a certain age or complete their education by a certain date. There are certain conditions that a court may not uphold, including: requiring the beneficiary to break the law, adopt a particular religion, get a divorce, or marry/not marry a specific individual. However, courts have been known to uphold conditions requiring a beneficiary to marry/not marry within a certain faith. If you wish to impose a condition on a beneficiary and are not sure if it is allowed, an estate planning lawyer Massachusetts may be able to advise you.
A holographic will is one that is written, signed and dated in the testator’s own handwriting. It is not. Holographic wills are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
A nuncupative or oral will, is spoken in the presence of witnesses. The use of oral wills in Massachusetts is restricted to servicemen in active duty for the disposition of personal property.
Types of Wills for Couples
Couples may make reciprocal or mirror wills in which they leave everything to each other and/or an agreed set of beneficiaries. In a joint will, a single will is signed by each partner. This type of will determines who will inherit the estate upon the demise of the second partner. Here, the survivor may not alter the will.
A mutual will consists of two separate wills, one signed by each partner. It is similar to a mirror will in that the provisions are identical, although the surviving partner may not change the will.
How to Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer Massachusetts
Writing a will can be a complicated process and engaging the services of an estate planning lawyer Massachusetts can save your family a lot of heartache later on. Contact the law office of Alan H. Segal for a Massachusetts estate planning attorney at (781) 444-9676 for a consultation.