New Bedford Wills Lawyer

It is never too early to begin considering what will happen to your assets when you are gone. Money, real and personal property, and even your business interests should be allocated to those you want to have them, whether that means charities, friends, spouses, or your children.

Failing to draft a will, putting it off year after year, is a big risk to take. Your assets will still be dispersed upon your death, except the state of Massachusetts will do it for you.

A skilled estate planning attorney knows what it is like to start small, work hard, and finish strong. At our firm, we believe people should be able to enjoy the spoils they have worked so hard for and then pass their legacy to those they choose. A New Bedford wills lawyer could make this dream a reality.

What To Include in a Will

As our skilled New Bedford attorneys know, wills are unique to the person creating one, also known as the testator. However, some key information should appear in all of them, if applicable. This includes:

  • Disposition of cash accounts
  • Final wishes for burial or cremation
  • Real estate, including the testator’s home if it is titled to the testator only
  • Named personal property, including family heirlooms, to be passed down to named beneficiaries
  • Who will serve as guardians for minor children if both parents are deceased or die in the same accident
  • Business interests, including corporate stock, limited liability company member interest, partnership interest (unless the partnership agreement addresses it), and sole proprietorships

Because the information within wills is sensitive and personal, turn to our customer-service-oriented legal team. Our lead attorney’s background in family law has influenced our entire team to be compassionate, empathetic, and relatable to our clients and their needs.

Assets Excluded in Wills

Some assets cannot be conveyed through a will. For example, a family home held jointly by spouses will automatically go to the surviving spouse when the other owner/spouse dies. Plans for the property can still be specified for after that spouse’s passing, however.

Further, if the beneficiary is an individual, life insurance benefits are handled by the insurance company that will issue the payout to them. The maker does not own the insurance payout prior to death, so it is not an asset that can be willed. If the insured estate is listed as the beneficiary, or the individual beneficiary predeceased the insured or owner of the account, then the asset would pass through the will. Retirement plans and other accounts payable at death are also handled separately.

Additionally, testators cannot will property to a beloved pet because the law treats pets as property. However, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 203E § 408, a New Bedford wills attorney could set up a trust for the care of companion animals.

Intestate Complications

A will is a vehicle to distribute what someone works hard for over a lifetime. Passing wealth to the next generation helps set children up for success. Leaving assets to a spouse secures their financial future. Charities and friends benefit greatly from generous gifts.

Without a will, the Massachusetts courts distribute assets using a formula that includes immediate relatives and works its way out to more distant ones. However, this arrangement does not always reflect the decedent’s preferences and actual relationships. For example, business interests could land in the hands of an incompetent inheritor. To prevent such mishaps, partner with a trusted New Bedford attorney to create a will that gives you and your family peace of mind.

Clarify Your Final Wishes With a New Bedford Wills Attorney

Whether you have significant assets or just want to ensure a few treasured family heirlooms are passed down to those you designate, you should plan the disposition of your estate long before retirement age.

It is never too soon to think about creating a will and an estate plan. Wills can be amended as your situation changes during your lifetime, and you can rest easy knowing you have chartered your own course instead of leaving it to a Massachusetts probate court judge.

Contact our firm now to experience first-class client service and start planning for your future with the help of a New Bedford wills lawyer.

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New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740
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