What happens if you die without a will in Massachusetts?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | Estate Planning

When you are young, you just want to spend time enjoying life and you don’t always plan for 10 or 20 years in the future. But as you grow older, you start to plan to move up in your career, to buy a house and to save for retirement. Yet, you still may avoid one important planning-ahead task for years: creating a will.

Dying without a will

According to a recent survey from Caring.com, a significant number of adults over age 55 still don’t have a will: about 44%. If you are among that 44%, you may not realize what will happen if you die without a will. If you die without a will in Massachusetts, the state will follow its laws as how to distribute your assets. This may mean your heirs don’t receive assets in the way you want. If you are remarried, your assets largely may go to your current wife. Yet, maybe you wanted to give more of an inheritance to children from your first marriage.

Maybe you are single and wanted some of your assets to go to your favorite charity. That likely won’t happen if you don’t have a will. Plus, if you had a valuable coin collection, family heirloom jewelry or a beloved classic car, those assets may not be distributed as you wanted them to be if you don’t have a will. You won’t have any say in who decides what happens with these and if someone inherits them or if they are sold.

Also, without a will in place, you make the probate process more lengthy, more expensive and more complicated for your heirs. Without a will, you likely won’t avoid estate taxes, lowering the amount of assets you pass on.

Am I too old to create a will?

You are never to old to create a will. If you want to decide how who will receive your assets after your death, you can work with an estate planning attorney to create a valid will. You also can plan ahead so you minimize the tax impact on your estate.


Having a will in place gives you peace of mind. You know you assets will be distributed as you intend them to be and your loved ones will receive the inheritance you want them to.