Important Changes to Probate Law May Affect Your Will

20 Jan

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: January 18, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

Charles Dickens is now safely buried.

Remnants of ancient England that ruled our probate procedures in Massachusetts will be gone in a few months. Beginning this April, the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Probate Code will become the law.

And with it, a new informal procedure will allow one’s heirs to probate a simple estate in a speedy process.

Under the new law, a person filing a will now has a choice: utilize a formal process in which a judge oversees the probate or elect an informal process that lets court clerks, designated as Magistrates, approve the will or a petition where there is no will.

While certain types of estates must go before a judge, most are straight-forward, uncontested and are perfect for the new informal process.

The new law also changed many of the rules regarding wills and inheritance.

For example, the rule in Massachusetts that marriage revoked a will made prior to the ceremony unless the will directed otherwise has been changed, among other important revisions.

So don’t take chances. It makes good sense to review and update your will before the new law goes into effect.

And if you don’t have a will, well you can guess my advice!

© 2012 George Warshaw
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George Warshaw is a real estate attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at metro@warshawlaw.com.

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