Last wills and testaments, commonly known as wills, are fundamental documents of estate planning and, as such, are routinely handled by both of the skilled attorneys of Deland Law Office in Holliston, Massachusetts. Principal attorney, Counselor at Law Jennifer Deland, and her talented colleague, Kenneth C. Collinson, III are caring professionals who provide clients throughout the Metrowest area with personal concern as well as exceptional legal representation.
The Purposes of a Will
Drafting a will with a competent lawyer at your side is essential. It accomplishes several important tasks that will protect your loved ones and your assets when you pass away by:
- Designating your personal representative (executor), the person who will administer your estate, e.g. by paying residual debts, distributing your property
- Naming your beneficiaries and the assets you wish each to receive
- Naming a guardian for your minor children if their other parent has predeceased you or is not able to care for them
Benefits of Having a Will
A will benefit your family and also allows you (the testator) to maintain authority over your assets even in death and to see that your wishes are carried out. Your will clarifies who will receive which of your assets; it simultaneously keeps your resources out of the hands of those you do not want to profit from your death (e.g. estranged relatives). Also, having a will can speed up the probate process, by avoiding unnecessary requirements like obtaining specific permission from the court to sell real estate.
It is crucial to note that if you die intestate (without a will), the courts will decide, according to Massachusetts state laws of intestate succession, who your heirs will be and what portion of your estate they will inherit. Your personal preferences will carry no weight.
Requirements for a Last Will and Testament to be Valid in Massachusetts
In order for a will to be valid in our state:
- The testator must be at least 18 years old.
- The testator must have the mental capacity to know who their people are and in general terms what property they have.
- There must be at least two witnesses to the signing of the will (who aren’t beneficiaries).
- It is not required that a will be executed in an attorney’s office, but it is a good idea because it is a strong protection against challenges to the will.
You need a will even if you have a trust.
For most of my clients, I recommend a Pour-Over Will — a will that names your living trust as your primary beneficiary. Assets left out of the trust will go through probate before being “poured” into the trust and distributed according to its terms.
If everything you have is in your trust, joint, or has named beneficiaries, the will may not have to be presented to the court. But “Better safe than sorry!”
Contact Our Experienced Wills Attorneys for the Exceptional Service You Deserve
No matter what your age or state of health if you haven’t made a will yet, now is the time to do so. Get in touch with Deland Law Office to make certain your loved ones are protected and your estate is distributed exactly as you wish when you pass away. You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for eventualities. Make your legacy one of foresight as well as generosity.