The state of Massachusetts provides for the disposition of a resident's property after death in the absence of an estate plan. However, that does not mean that the property left behind will go to the surviving family or friends that the individual would have chosen. This is the primary reason that wills are part of every estate plan.
In fact, a will is considered the cornerstone of every estate plan. This document lets the state of Massachusetts know that the decedent made arrangements for his or her estate prior to death. It also lets surviving relatives know who is to receive what assets from the estate. The individual will also need to choose someone to be the executor of the estate. The executor is the person who makes sure that the wishes expressed in the will are carried out.
For Massachusetts residents who have children, a guardian to care for them after a parent's death can also be named in a will. Again, in the absence of this document, the court will determine who will be appointed the children's guardian. This could mean that several family members will be arguing over who will take care of the children, which would cost extra time and money.
Knowing the role that wills play in estate planning might help those who do not have them to understand why they are needed. An individual does not have to be wealthy in order to benefit from an estate plan. Other documents might be required in order to meet all of his or her goals, but a will is a good place to start.
Source: finance.yahoo.com, "Understanding the basics of estate planning", Constance J. Fontaine, July 1, 2016