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Massachusetts Last Will and Testament Template

Create your last will and testament forms easily from home and in under an hour with FindLaw’s guided process.

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Massachusetts will options for you and your family

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Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$99
What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

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All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

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Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
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Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

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Reliable Massachusetts last will and testament forms in no time

If you die without a will in Massachusetts, your property will be distributed according to default state laws (“intestacy laws”). These laws may not suit your needs, especially if you have a blended family, an unmarried partner, or other special considerations. A will enables you to make your own decisions about the distribution of your assets, determine what age beneficiaries can access their inheritance, and safeguard your estate by explicitly disinheriting individuals you do not wish to inherit. With FindLaw’s guided process, you can create your will in under an hour from the convenience of your home.

Don’t forget to download the free Massachusetts last will and testament template on this page. You can download and print this document in PDF.

Kimberly_Lekman_image

Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What’s next to make my Massachusetts will valid?

If you want a will, you can hire a lawyer or use a will form from a reliable source. If you use a form, follow these steps:

Choose an executor

An executor is someone who will oversee the payment of your debts and the distribution of your assets after your death. They do this in accordance with your will under a court-supervised process called probate. You may name an executor in your will, and you may want to name a backup, or alternate executor, too. Many people choose an executor who is a close family member, such as a spouse, sibling, or adult child. If you do not choose an executor, the probate court will choose one on your behalf.

Create a list of your beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are the people or entities you (the “testator”) would like to leave your assets to. Your beneficiaries might be individuals, like loved ones or friends. Under Massachusetts law, you can also create a trust for a person, such as a minor child. You can even create a “pet trust” for your beloved animals. When you leave your assets in a trust, it allows a trustee to manage the finances on the beneficiary’s behalf.

Create a list of your assets and debts

When listing your assets, be sure to include both real property and personal property. Real property refers to your real estate, such as houses, investment properties, and land. Personal property is all of your other property, including vehicles, jewelry, furniture, and all other possessions. Massachusetts law provides that you may incorporate a signed list of assets into your will by reference. You can then refer to that list in your will for the purpose of distributing certain properties. Using this type of list could be helpful if you have many items to distribute to specific people.

List your non-probate assets

You can’t distribute all your property through a will. If you have a life insurance policy, annuities, trusts, or retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, they will pass directly to the beneficiaries you named on those policies. Further, if you have property that you own jointly, or as tenants in the entirety, they will pass directly to your joint owners. You cannot change these designations through your will. A list of these non-probate assets will help your executor distribute and catalog your estate.

Choose caretakers for your minor children

One of the benefits of a will for the parents of minor children is the ability to name guardians. It can give you peace of mind to know that your children will have good caretakers just in case anything were to happen to you.

Sign your will

You should sign your will in the presence of at least two competent witnesses who do not stand to benefit from your will (disinterested witnesses). If your witnesses or their spouses are beneficiaries to your will, they may need to testify that they did not commit fraud or pressure you into putting them into your will. In addition to these legal hassles, beneficiary witnesses may lose their inheritance under Massachusetts law. So, a better plan is to find two people who are not included in your will to witness your signature.

Distribute your will and store in a safe place

Once you have signed your will, you should let your family members know about it and give a copy to your executor and your lawyer (if you have one). You should also keep a copy of your will in a safe place that your loved ones know about. Under Massachusetts law, you may deposit your will at a court for safekeeping. The court can then send it to the appropriate probate court when it is notified of your death. If you are interested in this option, you should contact a Massachusetts court near you to learn more.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
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Commonly asked questions about Massachusetts last will and testaments

If you die without a will in Massachusetts, a probate court will distribute your property according to specific state laws (“intestate succession” laws). Under these state laws, your spouse could stand to inherit your entire estate. The exception to this would be if you have descendants (children or grandchildren) that you do not share with your spouse or if you have surviving parents.

These intestacy laws can be complex, and they might not suit your family’s needs or your preferences. If you have a blended family, special needs children, an unmarried partner, or other special circumstances, you should make a will. By creating a will, you can distribute your property according to your preferences rather than relying on the state’s laws. With FindLaw, you can create a Massachusetts will that suits you and your family’s needs in about an hour without even needing to leave home.

To have a legally valid Massachusetts will, you have to make sure to follow a few basic minimum requirements:

  • Your will must be in writing
  • You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind.
  • You must sign the will or direct someone to sign it for you
  • You must sign or acknowledge your signature in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses. They must sign the will within a reasonable time after witnessing your signature or acknowledgment.

Note that the “sound mind” mental capacity requirement is a fairly general rule. A testator who has unusual beliefs or eccentricities can still have the mental capacity to sign a valid will. As long as the testator generally understands the purpose of the will and the nature of their property, they fulfill this requirement. Even people with mental illness fulfill the mental capacity requirement as long as they were having a lucid moment when they signed their will.

No, you do not have to notarize your will to make it legally valid in Massachusetts.

However, if you would like to make your will self-proving, you will need a notary public’s services. When you have a self-proving will, your witnesses do not have to testify in front of a probate court that your will is valid. Instead, the probate court can automatically authenticate your will. If you would like to have a self-proving will, you and your witnesses need to swear to an affidavit in front of a notary.

Massachusetts statutes provide a sample of a blank self-proving affidavit that you and your witnesses should take to the notary to create your self-proving will.

An unwitnessed will that is entirely in the testator’s handwriting is called a holographic will. Although some states recognize a holographic will as legally valid, Massachusetts does not.

To ensure that you have a valid Massachusetts will, you should sign a printed will in front of two witnesses. With FindLaw, you can create your will through an easy guided process in under an hour.

To change your will, you can either create a new will or write an amendment to the will (known as a “codicil“). With FindLaw’s do-it-yourself will creation service, you can make unlimited changes on your will for a full year after purchase.

To entirely revoke your will, you can either write a new will that revokes the old will or physically destroy your old will through tearing, burning, or other means with the intention to revoke.

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