A lot of people think that they don’t have enough assets or a complex enough distribution plan to warrant engaging in estate planning. This is dangerous thinking. After all, if you pass away without an estate plan, then the state of Massachusetts will dictate how your assets are distributed, which may or may not fall in line with your vision of how your estate should be inherited.
A look at Massachusetts’ law on intestacy succession
Every state has intestacy laws, which are nothing more than laws that specify how property will be inherited in the event that an individual passes away without a will or any other estate planning vehicle. These laws can be more complicated than you think, though.
For example, although your spouse may inherit everything if you don’t have children or your children are from that spouse, your spouse might only inherit the first $200,000 of your estate and then three-quarters of anything that is left over if you don’t have any surviving children but you have a surviving parent. If your spouse has children from another relationship, then your spouse will only inherit the first $100,000 of your estate and then half of the remaining estate.
Depending on your circumstances, after your assets are distributed to your spouse in accordance with the law, any remaining balance will pass to your children, your parents, your siblings, or your next of kin.
Don’t let yourself fall victim to intestate succession
Intestate success can be dangerous. The law doesn’t care about your relationship with your relatives, and as such won’t take anything of the sort into account when determining how your assets should be distributed upon your death. This is just one of the many reasons why you should take control of the situation and carefully consider the best way for you to protect your loved ones and your assets. An attorney who knows how to utilize the estate planning vehicles that are best for you stand ready to help guide you through the process.