Planning the distribution of your estate is a big deal, including your cherished possessions and your hard-earned property. Don’t worry - we’re here to guide you through it all! Creating your Last Will and Testament means that you’re empowering yourself to take care of your loved ones (including your pets) even after you’re gone.
While the core process of creating a Will is similar regardless of your location, there are specific rules and guidelines that vary from state to state. As a resident in Massachusetts, this means that it’s critical that you follow any requirements specific to the Bay State. Keep reading to find out how to create your online Will in Massachusetts.
What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Massachusetts
Are online Wills legal in Massachusetts? What are the requirements? How do I make sure it’s legally valid?
There are many questions that can come up when you’re about to engage yourself in a new process. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Below you will find the answers to the most popular questions about making a Will online in your state.
How Much Does a Will Cost in Massachusetts?
A Will in Massachusetts costs, on average, a few hundred dollars. This cost varies based on the method used to create the Will, as well as the complexity of the estate.
For instance, an attorney will either charge a flat fee or bill on an hourly basis. The final cost will be influenced by the complexity of the Will, as well as the pricing on the attorney’s services. An attorney can charge several thousand dollars for the establishment of a Trust, depending on the complexity of the Trust’s provisions.
As an alternative, you have the option of creating your Will online without an attorney. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides an affordable and convenient alternative, and provides several options to meet the criteria of individual circumstances.
Are Online Wills Legal in Massachusetts?
Yes, online Wills are legal in Massachusetts. As long as you are 18 years or older, and are of sound mind, you can make a Will online that will be recognized as valid in a Massachusetts probate court. To create an online Will, it’s recommended to use a trusted service or platform such as Trust & Will which allows you to create a custom, state-specific Will.
What are the Requirements for an Online Will to Be Valid in Massachusetts?
Here are the legal requirements for an online Will to be valid in Massachusetts:
Must be in writing.
Must be signed by you, the Testator.
Must be signed by a minimum of 2 witnesses who either watched you sign your Will or heard you verbally acknowledge your Will.
You must have the intention of making the document your Last Will and Testament (testamentary intent.)
Must be printed with original, wet ink signatures.
While it is perfectly legal to create your will Online, Massachusetts does not currently recognize electronic Wills (eWills or digital-only Wills). While this may change in the future, you must print out your Will on paper and sign it with a pen.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Massachusetts?
No, you are not required to partner with an attorney to make your Will in Massachusetts. However, you may find it beneficial to hire a lawyer in certain situations, such as if you have a complex estate, own assets in multiple jurisdictions, or have intricate family dynamics. Otherwise, most individuals with simple estates and straightforward wishes can create their Wills on their own. Online platforms such as Trust & Will provide an affordable solution, guiding you through the Will creation process step-by-step. This provides peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in your state.
To learn more about how to create your Will without a lawyer, check out this resource.
How Do I Sign an Online Will in Massachusetts?
Here are the simple steps to sign an online Will in Massachusetts:
Print out your online Will
Sign or acknowledge your Will in front of two witnesses
Your two witnesses sign your Will
As a reminder, Massachusetts does not yet recognize digital-only Wills, which are Wills that are entirely created, signed, and executed electronically. However, you can still create your Will online as long as you print it out. Here, you must sign your paper-copy Will with your original wet ink signature before two witnesses. Alternatively, you can verbally acknowledge your Will and signature. Shortly thereafter, your two witnesses should also provide their original wet ink signatures to your Will.
Does Massachusetts Require a Notarized Will?
No, the state of Massachusetts does not require a Will to be notarized. However, you may want to consider taking the optional step of notarizing your Will to help streamline the probate process. This is because the witnesses won’t need to be called upon to testify regarding the Will’s authenticity. By skipping this step, the Will can be admitted to probate more quickly.
To make a Will self-proving, you and your witnesses will make a sworn statement and sign an affidavit before a notary public. The requirements of the affidavit to make a Will self-proving can be found here. The notary will notarize the affidavit itself with their official seal, after which the document is attached to the Will.
Who Can Witness a Will in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, any competent adult over the age of 18 can witness a Will. The state doesn’t have any legal restrictions against a beneficiary serving as a witness, but it is generally discouraged. This is because using a beneficiary as your witness could potentially lead to a conflict of interest or a challenge to your Will’s validity.
How to Create Massachusetts Last Will and Testament Online
The most important takeaway from the discussion thus far is that while you can create your Will online in the Bay State, you must still print it out on paper and sign it with your physical signature. This is because Massachusetts does not currently recognize eWills (fully digital Wills), although this may change in the future as more states adopt laws that enable eWills.
In the meantime, drafting your Will online is still a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an attorney.
With these key points in mind, here are the general steps on how to create a Massachusetts Last Will and Testament online:
Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template
Draft up your Will
Review and finalize your Will
Print out your Will
Sign the Will
Obtain signatures from two witnesses who will testify that you signed the Will or declared that the signature is yours.
Optional: get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving
Upload the Will to a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault
Store the hard copy in a secure physical space, such as a safe
Review and revise your Will regularly
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Massachusetts?
Now that you have an overview of how to create a Will, you may be wondering what exactly makes up its contents. The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help you create your Will.
Here are some ideas of what can be included in your online Will in Massachusetts
Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate
A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)
An inventory of your property and assets
A list of Beneficiaries who should inherit from your estate
Specific instructions for the distribution of sentimental items to specific Beneficiaries
A trusted individual to manage property for dependent children
Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.
Any final instructions or notes for loved ones
Create Your Online Will in Massachusetts Today
While a handful of U.S. states have begun to recognize digital-only Wills (eWills), Massachusetts is not one of them. However, this may change soon. Until then, Massachusetts residents have access to a convenient and affordable alternative to working directly with an attorney, which is creating a Will online.
This guide went over the exact process and requirements of online Wills in Massachusetts. The key to your success is selecting a trusted estate planning platform where you can have peace of mind knowing that your information is secure, and that your Will is legally valid in your state. Trust & Will offers all of these things. We offer state-specific estate plans that are secured by bank-level encryption.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.