Modifying your will after major life changes is the best way to make sure your Massachusetts estate is distributed according to your wishes. However, if you have married since you wrote the will and you did not make updates, your spouse may still receive a portion of the inheritance. We at the Curley Law Firm have often advised clients on how assets may be allocated when a will has not been adjusted to reflect the current family situation.
The Massachusetts Legislature explains that if your will predates your marriage to your new spouse, the portion of your assets that you allotted to your children remains the same. However, if you have named beneficiaries in your will who are not your descendants, that portion of your estate would be treated as if you had not had a will at all. Instead, your spouse would receive the portion of that remainder that would have been distributed to him or her as an intestate share.
Your new spouse does not automatically become the representative of your estate or the guardian of your children if you have already named people to these roles in your premarital will. There are exceptions, though. For example, if you indicated in your will that you were planning to remarry, then your surviving husband or wife may be treated as if you were already married, which would include the distribution of assets. Alternatively, you could include in your will a statement that any subsequent marriage should not affect your named beneficiaries. More information about your end-of-life goals is available on our webpage.