Casey & Lundregan, P.C.

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June 2015 Archives

New Rules for Will Contests

In March 2012, Massachusetts adopted the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code. Those representing either petitioners or contestants in will must be aware of changes brought about by the new law. This includes the expansion of categories of people with standing to contest wills. For example, stepchildren may gain eligibility depending on the individual case details. New burdens and responsibilities have been placed on the conservators, guardians, and other trustees of persons who may be eligible to contest wills. All operative provisions of the MUPC should be reviewed prior to the filing of, or commencing the defense of, any will contest.

Why is it important to make a will?

Even when clients wish to avoid probate and have done everything in their power for nonprobate administration at death, a will is a good back-up plan to take care of whatever may have been overlooked. For example, unexpected death may give rise to a claim for wrongful death, and the proceeds of the litigation will necessarily pass through probate and be disposed of as the client's probate estate.

What happens to my property if I die without a will?

Each state government has adopted a structure to decide who will inherit the estate of someone who dies without a will. The law of "intestate succession," which varies slightly from state to state, directs the disposition of property for the decedent who failed to sign a valid will. Usually, spouses inherit all or most of the estate. If there is no surviving spouse, children and the descendants of deceased children usually inherit. The law of intestate succession will often provide for distribution to the nearest relatives, even though they may be as distant as fifth cousins.

Experienced Local Attorneys

Casey & Lundregan, P.C.
71 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-224-8893
Toll Free: 800-785-3588
Fax: 978-745-3607
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