What information do I need when preparing for a will in Massachusetts?
One of the simple ways of doing a will is what we call ‘reciprocal wills’ or sometimes I refer to them as ‘I love you wills’. What that means is they’re just mirror images of each other. In that case, what happens is for instance, the wife says “If I die, I’m leaving everything to my husband but if my husband dies first, and then I die, I’m leaving everything to my children” and vice versa. The husband says “I’m leaving everything to my wife but if my wife is dead, I’m leaving everything to the children.” The advantages of having a will, even though those are considered simple wills, is that you get to name personal representatives. Those are the people who will administer your estate for you. The old terminology used to be executor or executrix but there was a change in law two years ago and it’s called a personal representative now. That’s the person who gathers up the information regarding your estate, makes the distributions from your estate, deals with the court in terms of filing appropriate paperwork, sells the house or manages the sale for instance. They’re the ones that stand in your place instead. The other advantage of a simple will is if you have minor children, you can name guardians for your children. The court would typically honor those wishes, absent circumstances that you hadn’t anticipated or something not being in existence at that time the guardianship is sought. Those wishes are generally given credence by the court. In a will, you can also make specific request concerning sums of money or items that you might be interested in going to certain persons. Common examples would include wanting the engagement ring to go to your daughter, or another collection to go to your son or whatever it might be, but you can put specific requests in your will as well.
This informational blog post was brought to you by Cynthia L. Hanley, an experienced Mansfield, Massachusetts Estate Planning Lawyer.