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Matthew Bresette publishes “Preserving the right to change one’s mind”

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Cape Business
December 2008

Matthew Bresette, a member of the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group, published “Preserving the right to change one’s mind” in the December 2008 issue of Cape Business. The article discusses a recent Massachusetts case in which an 85 year-old former stockbroker without any children altered his will a month before he died leaving everything to his niece instead of various charities. The charities were shocked by the decision and questioned his mental capacity, which resulted in a five-year legal battle.

Matt points out that altering a will later in life can jeopardize whether the changes will be carried out efficiently and effectively – if at all. He suggests a few steps to prevent challenges from disappointed heirs and legatees, which include: confirming your intentions outside the presence of the “new” beneficiaries, having your doctor provide a written assessment of your mental capacity, leaving a hand written letter explaining the reason for the change, having a video record of the signing, and, finally, reducing inheritance to the jilted beneficiary rather than eliminating them all together. 

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