We all have heard the adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We follow that adage with all of our estate plans because we believe that people should have their wishes honored as they pass on. However, we also understand that many people do not see the usefulness of a will. Through this post, we will explain the importance of having a will, and provide some helpful details about what they can (and cannot) do.
Essentially, you can make a personal (and permanent) declaration about how you want to dispose of your property at death. Contrary to popular belief, it does not matter how much personal property you have. You can make your intentions known through a will if whether you have only a few personal items to your name or if you have $20 million in assets.
Because a will chronicles your personal wishes, it allows you to control how property may be divided. You can make specific gifts, keep money aside for chosen beneficiaries, and create special trusts based on your interests. Also, a will can stem potential disputes over the distribution of your property.
Also, a will does not become enforceable until your death, and it can be modified at any time.
A person who passes away without a will dies “intestate.” This means that their property will be divided according to Massachusetts state law (i.e. to surviving family members in portions determined by statute). Most importantly, you have no specific input into how your property is distributed.
With any estate plan, a will is only one part of your overall arrangement. To learn more about estate planning, an experienced attorney can help.