When you think of estate planning, one of the first things that come to mind is a will. Although there are many possible components to an estate plan, creating a will is one of the most common. Here is some helpful information and tips on creating a will in Massachusetts.
What Is Included in a Massachusetts Will
Wills can be used to distribute your assets to specific beneficiaries (we can be people or even organizations). You may name an executor to carry out your wishes. If you have children, your will can name a guardian to care for your children and a trustee to manage assets to the benefit of your children. The specific terms of your will depend entirely on your personal circumstances and preferences.
Dying Without a Will in Massachusetts
If you fail to prepare a will, your assets will be distributed according to Massachusetts law. The law is very specific about beneficiaries based on whether you are married, have children (from current or previous marriages), have living parents, etc. If no direct family members exist, then other relatives may receive assets from your estate. The courts will review information and make many of these decisions. The quality of your relationships with specific family members are irrelevant. Your estate may not necessarily be distributed in a manner that you like, but given the lack of a will to state your wishes, this is the only alternative available legally.
Steps for Creating a Will in Massachusetts
Technically, you can create your own will in Massachusetts. The only legal requirement is that you sign it in front of at least 2 witnesses and that those witnesses also sign the will. However, given the complexity of your personal circumstances and the impact that this document can have, you should consider working with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney.
Going Beyond the Will
In most cases, creating a will in Massachusetts is not sufficient to protect your assets and provide for your family. Depending on the size of your estate, you may want to consider methods to minimize estate taxes. If you have children, you may want to create a trust to control how assets are managed and ensure that they continue to provide financial support for your children until they become adults. Wills are really the most basic estate planning component, but they are rarely enough to achieve your full estate planning goals.
To ensure that you have all of the necessary pieces in place for your estate plan, schedule a consultation with our team. We take a look at your personal circumstances, finances, and goals and provide solutions to help you achieve them. No two estate plans are the same since no two individuals are the same. Don’t settle for a generic plan that falls short. Your estate and your family is far too important!