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What makes for a legally-binding will in Massachusetts?

One of the worst mistakes you can make in life -- from an estate planning perspective -- is to try to draft a last will and testament by yourself. There are just too many pitfalls that the untrained testator can experience when trying to draft a will without professional help. While you can read and understand the law, there are some things you simply won't know without appropriate training.

That being said, here are the basics on Massachusetts will creation that you might want to understand:

  • Your Massachusetts will falls under the legal statutes found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapters 190B and 191.
  • The age of the testator is important when drafting a will. In Massachusetts, the testator must be a person at least 18 years of age and of sound mind in order to create a will.
  • The testator needs to sign his or her will and it has to be in writing. Otherwise, another person can sign it in the presence of the testator -- as long as the testator is conscious and of sound mind, and the signature was done under his or her direction.
  • In Massachusetts, two or more competent people need to sign the will. Or, they need to witness the testator's acknowledgment that the signature on the will is valid.

Ideally, interested parties should not sign the will, but they can under the following circumstances: two additional noninterested witnesses sign the document, the interested witness can show that the area of the will that shows the gift to him or her was not later inserted and that the testator didn't execute the will as a result of undue influence or fraud.

If you want a will that can withstand a legal challenge, our law firm can help you with all of your estate planning needs.

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