Some Massachusetts residents may no longer believe that wills are necessary since most property can be transferred to friends and family in other ways. It is true that there are other means by which a person’s assets can be distributed to friends and family. However, that does not mean that wills are no longer a valuable part of an estate plan.
For some people in Massachusetts, a will may be the best way to express their wishes after death. This one document can handle the distribution of all of an individual’s assets, if desired. However, distribution of the estate generally does not occur until the end of the probate process, which could take months or even years, depending on the circumstances.
This is where other property transfer methods can quicken the process and give heirs and beneficiaries earlier access to the property left to them. Many people use trusts. They can be created to take effect during one’s lifetime or after death, depending on the desires and needs of the individual.
They are also popular due to the fact that the individual who created the trust can control when distributions are made. Some accounts are transferred upon death. The requirements are different for different types of trusts.
Regardless of the estate planning goals of individuals, wills are nearly always part of the plan. Even if the majority of an individual’s assets are not governed by the will, it could cover any assets that were missed somehow and not accounted for by any other documentation, among other things. The creation of an estate plan is a highly individualized process and should not be undertaken without a thorough understanding of the options available.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Are Wills Obsolete?“, Brad Reid, Sept. 9, 2015