New ‘Traps’ Excerpt: Legatee as a witness to a will

Thursday, May 6, 2021
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The Massachusetts Bar Association is in the process of updating its Traps for the Unwary publication, a member-exclusive reference guide last published in 2011 that looks at some of the malpractice hazards for attorneys who practice in a general, civil practice. While the guide is nearing completion, we invite members to share any “traps” they’ve come across in their practice for possible inclusion in the next edition.

Share your trap suggestion by emailing it to Attorney James E. Harvey of O’Malley and Harvey LLP, who is again serving as editor-in-chief for the project and is working closely with liaisons from several MBA section councils.

To help you identify potential traps, the MBA will periodically publish excerpts from Traps for the Unwary in eJournal. View this week’s trap, plus previously shared examples, below.

TRAPS EXAMPLE: LEGATEE AS A WITNESS TO A WILL

A witness to a will should not be a person who receives a bequest under the will. In general, if the witness or spouse of a witness receives a bequest under the terms of the will, the execution of the will is valid but the bequest to the witness or witness’s spouse is void. M.G.L. c. 190B, § 2-505(b).

VIEW PREVIOUS EXAMPLES