Is A Massachusetts Will Invalid If It’s Not Signed?
There are certain requirements that a person’s last will and testament must meet in order to be considered legally valid and enforceable. One of these requirements is that a Will be signed. If your loved one’s Will is not signed or fails to meet other signature requirements, contact an experienced Massachusetts estate attorney as soon as possible so that you can contest the validity of the Will and ensure that it is not enforced.
Requirements for a Massachusetts Will
In order to be valid, a Massachusetts Will must have been signed by the testator in the presence of two competent witnesses. In order to serve as competent witnesses, the witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the Will. If the witnesses were interested parties of the Will, then this is a conflict of interest and they are not considered competent. Witnesses are also not considered competent if they are under the age of 18 or not mentally sound. The testator must also be competent at the time of the Will signing, meaning that they are aware of what is happening and are consciously and voluntarily choosing to create and execute their Will. If the testator is mentally competent but lacks the physical ability to sign their Will, then they may have someone else sign the Will on their behalf. However, the testator must be in the room and have their proxy sign the Will at their direction.
What Happens if a Will is Not Signed in Massachusetts?
If a Will is not signed it is not valid. The purpose of the probate court process is to determine whether the decedent’s Will is valid and enforceable. If it is valid, they will enforce it. If the Will is not valid, it will not be enforced by the court. If the Will is not enforceable, the probate court will instead apply Massachusetts’ intestate succession statutes in order to distribute the estate. This means that an unsigned Will will be kicked out, and instead, the court will distribute the decedent’s estate in accordance with the intestate succession statutes, which favor the decedent’s spouse and children. If the decedent did not have a spouse or children, their estate may go to their parents or siblings. If you have questions about whether you have standing to challenge a Will, or how doing so could affect how the Will is distributed, it is a good idea to consult with a probate attorney as soon as possible, so that you do not miss the opportunity to take action and claim the inheritance that you are rightfully entitled to.
Contact Fisher Law, LLC to Schedule a Consultation
If you have questions about challenging the validity of a loved one’s Will or whether you have standing to contest a Will, contact the experienced Norwood estate planning attorneys at Fisher Law, LLC and schedule a consultation today.