The Will is a legal document by which to designate the persons who will receive the assets you own upon your death. A Will is also the instrument used to appoint legal guardians for your minor children. A valid and legally executed will can prevent your property from being distributed according to the provisions of Massachusetts intestacy statutes. It is important to remember that a Will does not override a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy, retirement plan, or a joint form of ownership. Unfortunately, many family members find out too late that a family member’s Will did not carry out that person’s wishes.
In particular, the Will is typically valid and effective until it is revoked, destroyed, or invalidated by writing a new Will. Alterations to an existing Will, such as crossing out language or adding a new provision, do not usually meet the legal requirements for executing a valid Will and do not affect the terms of an existing Will; however, changes to an existing Will can be made by codicil. A codicil is simply a document executed in compliance with Massachusetts law that changes a portion of the existing will or previously executed codicil.
It is a good idea to review your Will periodically to assure that it continues to be an accurate instruction in light of your current situation and objectives.
Many people are under the mistaken belief that a Will avoids the probate process. The Will does not avoid the expense, delay, and publicity of a probate proceeding.
Attorney Tobin can discern whether your existing Will is appropriate for your personal situation.
Contact us to arrange a free consultation with Attorney Adam J. Tobin