How to Create a Will in Massachusetts

By Beverly Bird

To create a will in Massachusetts, you follow much the same procedures as you would in any other state. You must ask yourself certain questions and consider certain issues, such as who your beneficiaries will be and who you would like to appoint as your executor. If you are at least 18 years of age and of sound mind, you can make a will in Massachusetts.

Step 1

Decide who you want to be your executor, the person who will carry out the terms of your will after you have passed away. You can choose a professional, such as a bank or lawyer, or a family member or friend. Keep in mind, however, that executing a will can be a very difficult job, particularly if you have a complex estate with multiple beneficiaries and many assets. You may not be doing a friend or family member a favor by assigning them this job. Ask the person you are thinking of choosing to make sure he is willing to take on the responsibility. If you want him to receive a small percentage of your estate in exchange for doing the work, you can put this in your will. Make sure you tell him where you plan to put your will for safekeeping so he can find it after your death.

Step 2

If you have minor children, name someone to raise them in the event of your death. If their other parent is living, she has first right to custody of your children. However, if she dies with you or has predeceased you, you can avoid having the court name a guardian if you specify someone in your will. You should also talk to this person ahead of time to make absolutely sure the individual wants such a responsibility.

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Step 3

Organize your assets and decide your beneficiaries. Massachusetts will not allow you to disinherit your spouse. If you leave him out of your will, or if you leave him only a token amount, the state can override your will to make sure he receives a percentage of your estate. You can leave certain items to certain beneficiaries, but if you do this, make sure you make provisions for what is to happen to anything else you own.

Step 4

Write your will. You can download a basic form from the Internet or consult your library for the format, and just fill in your personal information, wishes and bequests. You can also do your will in handwriting in Massachusetts if you have the required number of eligible witnesses. Massachusetts does not accept holographic or handwritten wills without witness signatures. If you are single and are planning to marry, mention this in your will as well. If you fail to do so, Massachusetts will declare your entire will void after the date of your marriage.

Step 5

Bring your witnesses together to witness the signing of your will. Massachusetts requires two. They must also be of sound mind. If either of them is a beneficiary in your will, you will need another witness in addition to that person. Otherwise, they will lose whatever you bequeathed to them under Massachusetts law. Your witnesses must sign the will as well.

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Decisions Involved in Making a Will


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Wills in Maine

Maine’s statutes regarding wills are on par with other states. You must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old to make a will in the state, and your signature requires two witnesses. Maine allows your witnesses to also be beneficiaries. Self-proved wills are accepted and eligible for simplified probate proceedings after your death. To self-prove your will, you and your witnesses must sign a second sworn statement indicating that it is authentic, and attach the statement to the will.

How to Make a Will by Yourself

If you do not have children or do not have many assets, you may wish to write your own will. Courts in most states will recognize a will you wrote yourself as long as your will meets all legal requirements. However, it is wise to consult an attorney for advice or to review your finished will. Also, if you have minor children, a great deal of assets or your estate is complicated in some way, you may wish to consult an attorney for help in writing your will.

Wills in Oregon

Each state has unique laws governing estates and wills. In Oregon, you can disinherit anyone except your spouse. If you disinherit your child, however, speak to an attorney to make sure you clearly state that in your will, as you cannot disinherit a child by omission: Oregon law presumes you forgot to mention a child who is not in your will, and may award the child a share of your estate equal to that which your other children receive.

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