In Massachusetts, like in many other states, intestacy laws dictate how the deceased person’s assets will be distributed. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Massachusetts intestacy law, covering how the assets are typically distributed in various scenarios.
Understanding Massachusetts Intestacy Law
Intestacy is the legal term for dying without a valid will. When this happens, Massachusetts intestacy law takes over to determine how the deceased person’s assets and property will be distributed.
The Role of the Probate Court
In Massachusetts, the Probate and Family Court oversees the distribution of assets in cases of intestacy. The court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate, which is typically a family member or close relative. The administrator is responsible for paying any debts and taxes owed by the deceased person and distributing the remaining assets according to state law.
Who Inherits Under Massachusetts Intestacy Law?
The distribution of assets under Massachusetts intestacy laws primarily depends on the deceased person’s surviving relatives. Here’s a breakdown of how the assets are typically distributed:
- Without descendants or parents, the surviving spouse takes the entire probate estate.
- If the decedent has no descendants, but is survived by a parent or parents, the surviving spouse takes the first $200,000 and takes three-quarters (¾) of the balance of the estate. The surviving parent(s) will take the rest.
- If all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has no other living descendants, surviving spouse takes the entire probate estate.
- If the decedent has living descendants from another relationship, the surviving spouse takes the first $100,000 plus one-half (½) of the balance. The decedent’s descendants take the rest.
- If the surviving spouse has living descendants from another relationship in addition to having living descendants with the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse takes the first $100,000, plus one-half (½) of the balance. The decedent’s descendants take the rest.
Intestacy can lead to complications and unintended consequences in the distribution of your assets. To avoid this, it’s highly recommended that you create a valid will. A will allows you to specify how you want your assets to be distributed after your passing, appoint an executor of your choice, and make provisions for any minor children or dependents.
Understanding Massachusetts intestacy laws is crucial for anyone who wants to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their passing. While intestacy laws provide a default distribution plan, creating a valid will is the best way to have control over how your estate is handled.
By consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out, minimize potential conflicts among your heirs, and provide clarity and peace of mind for your loved ones during a challenging time. Remember, it’s never too early to start planning for your future and the future of your family.
Estate Planning With DaMore Law
Everyone can benefit from having a plan in place to ensure their assets are preserved and protected after their death. At DaMore Law, we always provide exceptional service and guidance to create a personalized plan for you. Schedule a free consultation with us.