Why Do I Need a Last Will and Testament?
A properly drafted Last Will and Testament is a fundamental part of a proper estate plan. Without a Last Will and Testament the disposition of your assets upon your death will be controlled by the Massachusetts Intestacy Laws. Ultimately, the Intestacy Laws would dictate how much of your estate your living relatives receive upon your passing. The Intestacy Laws, however, do not specify who gets what assets, or how certain items are divided. Instead under the Intestacy Laws, the estate is valued upon death and then based upon this value, and based upon the type of living relatives you have at the time of death, the estate is divided in accordance with the law.
If you have a valid Last Will and Testament at the time of your death, this document will control the disposition of your estate rather than the Intestacy Laws. A Last Will and Testament will provide you with a multitude of control concerning your estate after you have passed away.
In a Last Will and Testament you can make specific devises. For example, if you own a certain piece of art work and wish for your nephew to receive the art work when you pass, a valid Last Will and Testament will allow for you to make such a specific devise. The Intestacy Laws do not allow for this to occur. Any estate assets that have not been specifically devised under the Will, would then be distributed under the residuary clause of the document. The residuary clause can be utilized as a device to ensure that any remaining assets or missed assets that were not addressed within the Will, would then be distributed in accordance with the terms of this clause. Once again, this allows for you to have control over the disposition of the estate in accordance with your wishes.
A Last Will and Testament allows for other control over assets. You can choose to have your Will pour over your assets into a Trust. The assets would then be administered by the Trust’s Trustee and the terms of the Trust. Lake Shore Legal can assist you in preparing such a Trust. Further, if you have a substantial estate, specific tax planning can occur so that your Last Will and Testament distributes assets in a manner that is most advantageous to your Estate, a surviving spouse, and your family.
Additionally, you can nominate a Personal Representative in your Last Will and Testament. The Personal Representative is the individual who will follow the instructions of the Will and distribute your estate in accordance with your wishes made within the document. If you are a parent with minor children, you can nominate a Guardian to care for your child in the event you pass prior the child reaching the age of maturity. These are just some of the items of control a Last Will and Testament will allow.
Contact Lake Shore Legal to set up a consultation concerning a proper estate plan based upon your specific situation. A Last Will and Testament is just one of numerous estate planning devises that our attorneys can prepare so that your estate is properly prepared prior to death, and properly administered following your passing. Additionally, our attorneys will evaluate your estate and inform you of any potential tax issues that may arise concerning your estate, and advise you of ways to avoid or lessen such issues if appropriate.