Estate planning attorneys recommend a variety of different documents for clients depending on their circumstances and goals.
A will is always part of the recommendation. Always.
Even when you have other documents to convey assets such as a revocable living trust, you still need a will. Every adult should have one. Moreover, your will should be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that it still meets your needs and complies with current laws.
The team at Casey Lundregan Burns is ready to help. We have over 80 years of experience preparing wills for clients in all types of circumstances.
The Purpose of a Will
Your will explains your preferences for what you want to happen with your property when you’re gone, and it provides legal authority to support those preferences. In your will, you can:
- Name the person you want to serve as your personal representative
- Describe your assets so that they can be properly accounted for and distributed
- Provide some instruction for paying debts
- Name guardians for your minor children
- Create a testamentary trust for property left to minors
- Describe your wishes for caring for pets and other provisions
- Explain how you want your assets distributed after all debts are paid
Some provisions in your will, once confirmed by the court, will have the force of law. Other provisions may serve more as a guideline for loved ones. Taken together, they help your loved ones manage your estate in the way that you would want.
What Happens if You Don’t Have a Will?
When you die without a valid will in Massachusetts, the state laws of intestate succession determine who will serve as your personal representative and who will receive your property. The results can be complicated, surprising, and often disappointing for loved ones.
The court may appoint the last person on earth you’d want to manage your affairs as your personal representative. The laws may divide your property in ways you wouldn’t expect or give your property to a family member who is estranged or not in a position to manage finances.
Another thing that most do not consider is that, if you own real estate at the time of your passing and you do not have a will, your real estate can only be sold after you receive specific permission from the Probate Court. This can significantly delay the sale of your home and deter potential buyers.
We can prevent this from happening by preparing a will tailored to your specific goals.
Why You Need a Will Even if You Have a Revocable Trust
We frequently create revocable “living” trusts for clients who want to help their loved ones avoid the expense and delays of the probate process. With this type of trust, you transfer ownership of your assets to the trust, but you also retain control of the trust and become the beneficiary so you can continue to use your property until your death. After you pass, the property in the trust automatically goes to the successor beneficiaries you have named, so it does not become part of your estate.
If your property passes without going into your estate, then it seems you should not need a will. However, the problem is that property sometimes gets left out of the trust for one reason or another. Having a simple pour-over will solves any potential problems. This type of will specifies that any property in the estate will go into the trust, and then it can be distributed along with your other property.
Allow the Dedicated Team at Casey Lundregan Burns to Create a Will That Protects Your Interests
If you don’t have a will, or if it has been some time since you prepared your will, we can help you ensure that you have the right provisions in place to serve your wishes for the future. With over 90 years of experience, we know how to protect your needs in a way that conserves both your time and your resources. Contact us today to get started.