Preparing for the future is an important part of the life of Massachusetts residents, no matter how old. People work hard to amass wealth and property throughout their lives, and want that property disbursed properly after they die. Because death is often unexpected, how can they always be prepared for the unpredictable?
Many do this through a will. A will is a legal document that distributes property owned by a person when they die. In most cases, people can choose where they want their belongings to go, although there may be certain forced heirship rules in some states. Executing a will means signing it and making it a legally sound document. According to the 191 General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a will must meet the following legal requirements to be executed:
- The document must be in writing
- The document must be signed by the individual or another person given control by the individual when they are mentally sound to do so
- The document must be signed by two other people who saw the individual sign their will
If the will does not meet these conditions, extrinsic evidence may be used to identify the desires of the individual regarding their property. According to the American Bar Association, a challenge to a will may be costly and difficult. The best way to avoid problems is to execute and sign the will correctly the first time.
Once a will has been drafted, there may be amendments made. These are called codicils and must be signed under the same circumstances as the original document. While wills may seem like something only the elderly worry about, the truth is that almost every adult would benefit from considering one.