How To Write A Valid Will
A last will and testament is a foundational aspect of any estate plan. The purpose of a will is to identify heirs and dictate how you wish for your estate assets to be distributed amongst your heirs after your passing. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has specific rules for writing a valid will, and failure to abide by these rules can result in a will being deemed invalid by the court. At Fisher Law LLC, our experienced estate planning attorneys are prepared to help you draft or amend a will for your estate plan. To learn more, call or contact our office today.
Valid Will Requirements
There are a few requirements for a valid will written or amended in Massachusetts. First, a person must qualify to write a will. An individual must be eighteen years old or older and of sound mind, which means that they must possess the testamentary capacity to write a will.
If a person is qualified to write a will, they must meet three additional requirements in order for a will to be valid. These prerequisites include the following:
- The will must be in writing,
- The will must be signed by the person making the will or by someone else at the person who created the will’s direction and in their presence, and
- Witnessed and signed by at least two, disinterested witnesses
While some states allow for a person to make a will orally, Massachusetts is not one of those states. However, a will does not need to be created or signed in front of a notary in order to be validated, so long as the other requirements of creating a valid will are upheld.
What Happens if a Will is Invalid?
If a will is challenged on procedural grounds in Massachusetts, and the court agrees with the petitioner, a will can be found invalid. Once a will is invalidated, the estate distribution can either revert back to the terms dictated in a prior version of the will, or the estate can be divided according to the rules of intestacy. Massachusetts intestacy laws distribute estate assets as follows:
- Spouse but no children: Spouse inherits everything
- Children but no spouse: Children split everything equally
- Spouse and children from that spouse: Spouse inherits everything
- Spouse and descendants from another relationship by either spouse: Spouse inherits first $100,000 plus half the remaining balance of assets, descendants split the remaining half
- Spouse and parents: Spouse inherits first $200,000 plus two-thirds the remaining balance, parents receive one-third of the remaining balance
- Parents, but no spouse or children: Parents inherit everything
- Siblings, but no spouse, parents, or children: Siblings inherit everything
Call or Contact Our Office Today
Do you have questions about writing a valid will in the Boston area? If so, the qualified and knowledgeable Norwood estate planning lawyers at Fisher Law LLC are here to help. Call the office or contact us online to speak with an experienced lawyer and schedule a consultation of your estate planning needs today.