Glasses and pen with a Last Will and Testament.

What Happens if I Die Without a Valid Will in Massachusetts?

During this pandemic, a question that often arises with new and prospective clients is, “What will happen if I die without a will?” The short answer is this: if you die without a valid will, Massachusetts estate law will create one for you.  When a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate.”

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 190B, Article II, Section 2-102 outlines who among your family will inherit your probate property in the event that you were to die intestate.  A handy reference chart, summarizing the statute, can be found below:

Surviving Family Members Who Gets What
Parents, but no surviving spouse or descendants 100% to your parents
No surviving spouse, but surviving children 100% equally split among your children
Spouse but no surviving descendants or parents 100% to your spouse
Surviving descendants and surviving spouse where all surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse 100% to your spouse
Spouse and parents, but no descendants Spouse inherits first $200,000, plus ¾ of the balance, the remainder goes to your parents
Descendants who are all surviving spouse’s descendants, but said spouse has one or more surviving descendants who are not your descendants OR one or more of your descendants are not descendants of surviving spouse. Spouse inherits first $100,000, plus ½ of balance, remainder split equally among your children.

If you die intestate, you effectively give up the right to decide what happens to your estate assets. You also give up the right to decide who oversees the probate of your estate. If these decisions matter to you, the only way to ensure that you get to make them is to make sure you do not die intestate.

Don’t have a will? Contact us today to get your estate planning process underway.

 

Categorized: COVID-19 Resources, Wills

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Anthony J. Dragga

Tony Dragga is a highly regarded Associate in the firm’s Estate, Financial & Tax Planning Practice Area, helping clients in Massachusetts with a variety of matters, including the preparation and administration of estates and estate plans. Business owners, distinguished professionals, senior executives, and high net worth individuals turn to Tony to develop personalized plans to reduce or eliminate estate, gift, and income taxes. Clients also rely on Tony in a variety of matters including the investment and division of assets, identification and appraisal of estate and trust assets, preparing and filing federal state estate tax returns, and collection of life insurance and employee benefits.

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Associate

Anthony J. Dragga

Tony Dragga is a highly regarded Associate in the firm’s Estate, Financial & Tax Planning Practice Area, helping clients in Massachusetts with a variety of matters, including the preparation and administration of estates and estate plans. Business owners, distinguished professionals, senior executives, and high net worth individuals turn to Tony to develop personalized plans to reduce or eliminate estate, gift, and income taxes. Clients also rely on Tony in a variety of matters including the investment and division of assets, identification and appraisal of estate and trust assets, preparing and filing federal state estate tax returns, and collection of life insurance and employee benefits.

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