Massachusetts Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Massachusetts

Note:  This summary is not intended to provide an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills, but does provide basic and other information for Massachusetts.  This discussion does not include provisions about hand written wills.

GENERAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS
Part II. REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Title II. DESCENT AND DISTRIBUTION, WILLS, ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONS AND ABSENTEES, GUARDIANSHIP, CONSERVATORSHIP AND TRUSTS
Chapter 190B. MASSACHUSETTS UNIFORM PROBATE CODE
Article II. INTESTACY, WILLS, AND DONATIVE TRANSFERS
Part 5. WILLS, WILL CONTRACTS, AND CUSTODY AND DEPOSIT OF WILLS
Current through Chapter 63 of the 2018 Legislative Session

§ 190B:2-501. Who may make will

An individual 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-501
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

§ 190B:2-502. Execution of wills

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) and in sections 2-506 and 2-513, a will shall be:
(1) in writing;
(2) signed by the testator or in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction; and
(3) signed by at least 2 individuals, each of whom witnessed either the signing of the will as described in paragraph (2) or the testator’s acknowledgment of that signature or acknowledgment of the will.
(b) Intent that the document constitute the testator’s will can be established by extrinsic evidence.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-502
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

§ 190B:2-505. Who may witness

(a) An individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will.
(b) The signing of a will by an interested witness shall not invalidate the will or any provision of it except that a devise to a witness or a spouse of such witness shall be void unless there are 2 other subscribing witnesses to the will who are not similarly benefited thereunder or the interested witness establishes that the bequest was not inserted, and the will was not signed, as a result of fraud or undue influence by the witness.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-505
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

§ 190B:2-507. Revocation by writing or by act

(a) A will or any part thereof is revoked:
(1) by executing a subsequent will that revokes the previous will or part expressly or by inconsistency; or
(2) by performing a revocatory act on the will, if the testator performed the act with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will or part or if another individual performed the act in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction. For purposes of this paragraph, “revocatory act on the will” includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying the will or any part of it.
(b) If a subsequent will does not expressly revoke a previous will, the execution of the subsequent will wholly revokes the previous will by inconsistency if the testator intended the subsequent will to replace rather than supplement the previous will.
(c) The testator is presumed to have intended a subsequent will to replace rather than supplement a previous will if the subsequent will makes a complete disposition of the testator’s estate. If this presumption arises and is not rebutted, the previous will is revoked; only the subsequent will is operative on the testator’s death.
(d) The testator is presumed to have intended a subsequent will to supplement rather than replace a previous will if the subsequent will does not make a complete disposition of the testator’s estate. If this presumption arises and is not rebutted, the subsequent will revokes the previous will only to the extent the subsequent will is inconsistent with the previous will; each will is fully operative on the testator’s death to the extent they are not inconsistent.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-507
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

§ 190B:2-510. Incorporation by reference

A writing in existence when a will is executed may be incorporated by reference if the language of the will manifests this intent and describes the writing sufficiently to permit its identification.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-510
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

§ 190B:2-513. Separate writing identifying devise of certain types of tangible personal property

A will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will, other than money. To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing shall be signed by the testator and shall describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty. The writing may be referred to as one to be in existence at the time of the testator’s death; it may be prepared before or after the execution of the will; it may be altered by the testator after its preparation; and it may be a writing that has no significance apart from its effect on the dispositions made by the will.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-513
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

§ 190B:2-515. Deposit of will with court in testator’s lifetime

A will may be deposited by the testator or the testator’s agent with any court for safekeeping, under rules of the court. The will shall be sealed and kept confidential. During the testator’s lifetime, a deposited will shall be delivered only to the testator or to a person authorized in writing signed by the testator to receive the will. A guardian of the estate or conservator may be allowed to examine a deposited will of a protected testator under procedures designed to maintain the confidential character of the document to the extent possible, and to ensure that it will be resealed and kept on deposit after the examination. Upon being informed of the testator’s death, the court shall notify any person designated to receive the will and deliver it to that person on request; or the court may deliver the will to the appropriate court.
Cite as Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 190B, § 2-515
History. Added by Acts 2008, c. 521, §9, eff. 7/1/2011.

 

 

 


Inside Massachusetts Last Will and Testament Law