A Will is the fundamental estate planning document. 

A Will is the most fundamental of estate planning documents, and everyone should have one. Quite simply, your Will determines who receives you property when you die. It names the persons and/or entities to whom you wish to leave an inheritance.

Wills typically contain specific bequests of personal property and devises of real estate. Any remaining property that is not specifically dealt with is called the residue of the estate, which goes to the residual beneficiaries.

A Pour-Over Will is a particular type of will that names a Trust as the residual beneficiary. In this way, the Will pours over into the Trust, and the Trust structures the inheritance to the beneficiaries.

Your Will will nominate an Executor (now called a Personal Representative in Massachusetts) to administer your estate. Upon your death, your nominated Executor, or their attorney, will file your Will with the Probate Court, and Petition for the Allowance of the Will and Appointment of a Personal Representative.

In addition to distributing property, a Will can also be used to nominate a Guardian and/or Conservator of your minor children.


We're glad that you're using this website to educate yourself about these important issues. While it may seem daunting, the most important step is as simple as a phone call or email.


The Law Office of David E. Peterson


Beverly Office

86 Dodge Street
Beverly, MA 01923

Burlington Office

2 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803