Wills: pros and cons
wills can name those who
will get your assets and ...
'heirs' the law otherwise provides to get your assets
wills only affect
assets in your
sole name at death
remember: many types
of assets do not pass through a will
a will can nominate a child's guardian
By having a will in place you can do some good things. If you die without a will, your assets will be given to your 'heirs at law' .
Heirs at law are your nearest blood relatives, plus your spouse. For some people, having their assets go to these persons is just fine.
But other people want to be more precise about where their assets will go. They realize all types of mishaps taked place, usually beyond their own ability to predict.
Or they may just not like their heirs at law. Think siblings. Or others.
Or they may like all their relatives but some relatives have more money than heaven. And adding more to those stockpiles is not what the client wants.
Maybe a charity is important. Maybe a person whom is not a relative but you truly want to give money to if they outlive you.
Keep in mind that even a will has a limited role in the big picture. Because a will doesn't control all your assets. It only controls the assets you own at your death that are in your SOLE name.
If you think about it for a few minutes, you may see that many of your assets are not owned in your name alone. Assets in your sole name may be only a minor part of your total wealth.
Think about it: how much of your wealth will be controlled by beneficiary designation (IRA, 401k), beneficiary (life insurance) or joint homes or bank accounts.
PRO: In addition, for those people who have children under the age of 18, Massachusetts law allows the parent to nominate (suggest to the probate court judge) the person or person whom the parent wants to have custody of the child if the parent can no longer do that.
So, when there's no need for a trust, you can use a will to state who will be in charge of your affairs after your death.
Most of your life is spent working to build up assets. Making a will is an essential step in ensuring that your assets pass to the people that you choose.
Also, a will is a legal document that appoints your Personal Representative (used to be called 'Executor') upon your death and names the people that you want to receive the property and possessions you own at the date of your death.
This Plain English Guide answers some of the more commonly asked questions about making a Will, but remember that your lawyer is available to answer any other questions or provide advice when you need it.
If you die without a valid will (known as dying “Intestate”), your estate will be distributed according to a formula set down by the government (called the “Law of Intestacy”). The Law of Intestacy will, in all probability, not reflect your wishes particularly if your circumstances are in any way unusual.
The Law of Intestacy will in all likelihood lead to an undesirable result in circumstances where you have had more than one relationship or if you have a family with small children.
The legal procedures on intestacy are more complicated and time consuming than if you have a will and the situation may cause expense, worry and hardship to your family and friends. Of course this expense and worry can be avoided by seeing one of our lawyers to make a valid will.
If you have no close family and you die without a valid will your estate may pass to the State Government.
Everyone over the age of 18 should make a will. However it is particularly important to make a will, or update your existing will if;
You can make a will yourself if you wish. However, a will is a very important legal document and it is not in your best interests to draft one yourself if you want to make things as easy as possible for your beneficiaries.
There are several rules that should be followed to ensure that a will is properly signed. If one of these rules are broken, it may create problems in the administration of your estate.
There are also a number of technical rules relating to the wording of wills. If you are not familiar with these rules it is quite possible that your will will be interpreted in a way which you did not intend.
Lengthy delays and court cases over wills often occur because a person’s will has been drawn without professional advice. Often the expense saved in preparing a will at home can translate to many thousands of dollars in costs to your estate if there are problems with your will.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you as to the best method of ensuring that your succession intentions are carried out and that these items are adequately addressed.
We can simplify the process of making a will. We will ensure that we fully understand your needs and will then be able to make things as clear as possible in your will.
The advantages of using our firm include:
Before coming to see us to make a will, please consider:
Disclaimer: The information provided in the document is a general summary and is not intended to be nor should it be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other professional advice.