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Life is unpredictable. It only takes a moment for a life-altering event to happen, which can leave you incapacitated, unable to take care of your young children, or even worse, lead to your death. You don’t want to pass away leaving your family and your assets behind without clear direction for your estate and the care of your children. 

A will gives you a sense of security in case something happens to you, but it needs to be clearly written and comply with state laws. Attorney Matthew Karr, Esq., at The Heritage Law Center understands what it takes to draft a strong will. As a wills attorney serving Boston residents, he and his legal team can offer the guidance you need. 

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that establishes the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. Each state has specific requirements a will must meet to be deemed official.

Writing a will allows you to record your decisions on important matters like how you want to disburse assets to loved ones and the guardianship of your children. Developing a will now means you’ll be ensuring that when you pass away, your assets will be left to care for the loved ones you choose. 

Wills can be edited to reflect new assets or decisions. If you’d like to add or take away an existing beneficiary, you can make revisions to your will at any point. By keeping your will up to date, you ensure that the document accurately reflects your estate and wishes. 

Simple Wills

Making a simple will, which is just a basic will, allows you to ensure that when you die your assets go to the people you want to get them, rather than risking that they might end up with people you don’t want to have them. The assets are given directly to people, so they aren’t protected in any way from creditors. 

In a simple will, you name a personal representative (executor) to handle your estate administration and make certain your wishes are carried out. This document also lets you appoint a guardian for your young children. A simple will must go through probate court, which costs money and takes some time. If your finances are uncomplicated and your priority when estate planning is to basically pass on your possessions and other assets directly to your loved ones, you might consider the simple will as part of your estate planning. 

Pour-Over Wills

When building your estate plan, you may also want to consider the benefits of a trust. Your trust holds your assets for a beneficiary, allowing you to protect and manage your assets now while preparing those assets for a beneficiary in the future. 

A pour-over will works with a trust. When you create a pour-over will, you create a safety net for your assets. When you pass away, if there are assets you didn’t put in your trust, this type of will transfers those assets at the time of your death to your trust. However, first, those assets must go through probate. Since there are minimal assets and the court only needs to ensure the assets are poured into the trust, probate takes less time than the longer and more complex process a will may go through otherwise. 

Unsure what your best option is? We’re here to help. Reach out to The Heritage Law Center for the guidance you need. We know how much peace of mind the right estate plan can provide, and we’ll help you choose the right type of will for your estate and assets. 

What Is Required for a Will? 

When creating a will, you need to ensure you’re following the legal guidelines that make a will official. A wills attorney who works with residents in Boston is key to ensuring these requirements are met and that your wishes in the document will be carried out. 

In Massachusetts, wills must be signed by two witnesses and by the person creating the will (grantor). These witnesses shouldn’t be beneficiaries who stand to gain anything from the will.

The grantor of the will must be someone who is older than 18 years old and who is of sound mind. It must also be written, not spoken, except in special cases such as military duty or a mariner being at sea. 

If you don’t meet these requirements, your will may be contested or considered not legally binding. A wills attorney serving the Boston area can work with you to prepare a will that serves as a gift for your loved ones that will create order and harmony in regard to your final wishes.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Estate planning helps you protect your assets and secure the futures of you and your loved ones. As an experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer, Matthew Karr, Esq., is knowledgeable about the variety of estate planning options and he’ll be able to help you choose the right strategies and tools for your needs.

He can ensure your estate plan fully addresses your requests and priorities. Matthew’s expertise can also help you maximize the assets you pass on to your loved ones. 

Many individuals find a will alone isn’t enough for their estate planning needs. Should you decide you’d like to form a trust or pursue other estate planning options, our lawyer can help highlight new opportunities for you to consider. His skills mean Matthew Karr, Esq., can provide valuable and insightful guidance during the estate planning process.

Check out our free reports to learn more about estate planning. These reports include our Estate Planning Essentials Report, Massachusetts Estate Planning: Saving on Taxes Report, and 7 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Selecting Guardians Report.

Dying Without a Will 

If you die with a will, the probate court determines whether your will is legally binding and valid. After the court verifies your will, your assets will be transferred according to your requests. Through this process, it can take a year or so for beneficiaries to receive their assets.

If someone dies without any kind of estate planning, it’s known as dying intestate. In these instances, the court will divide your assets based on state guidelines for distribution. Unfortunately, that means your wishes may not be respected and those you want to receive certain assets may not get them. 

When you choose not to create a will or do any estate planning, you lose your ability to determine what happens with your estate. If you want certain assets to go to specific individuals, you must define these desires ahead of time. A wills attorney can make this process much simpler and give you peace of mind that your loved ones will receive the assets you want to give them. 

How Do I Avoid a Contested Will? 

Writing a will allows you to specify your wishes and ensure your assets are split according to your wishes. Unfortunately, someone may contest your will, typically because that person feels they were improperly excluded. This can tie your will up in probate court and may even lead to changes in the terms you set out. The Heritage Law Center can help you avoid this. 

Our lawyer has the knowledge and experience needed to write your will with clarity and clauses that will help you avoid these problems. For example, if you anticipate there will be a disgruntled heir, your will can include a no-contest clause. The way to make that clause work is to leave something of value to the potentially displeased heir. You must leave the individual enough so that a challenge is not worth the risk of losing the inheritance. With this in place, if that beneficiary challenges your will, they may not receive any inheritance. 

Our lawyer can also help you write your will early and update it as needed. Reviewing your will regularly can help you ensure you’re not missing any important people, like children or grandchildren who were born after the will was written. That ensures you’re considering your whole family. 

Speaking to your family may also be an option if you feel comfortable doing so. Discussing the choices you’re making and the reasons behind them can give you and your family peace of mind when preparing your will. 

Create Your Will with a Wills Attorney Serving Boston

Estate planning isn’t reserved for senior adults. A serious accident or illness can happen at any time. It’s important to build a comprehensive estate plan as early as possible to stay prepared and protect your assets. Writing a will ensures you choose what happens with your assets and who the guardian of your children will be.

Our attorney Matthew Karr, Esq., and the team at The Heritage Law Center are here to make this process as stress-free as possible. We take a personalized approach with each client, so you can feel confident that your estate plan is best suited to your situation and priorities. 

If you’re ready to speak to a wills attorney serving Boston who cares about your needs, reach out for a free consultation. Call us at 617-299-6976 or fill out our online form below for a consultation today.