Things to Consider When Writing a Will
A will is also known as a “last will and testament” and legally allows you to leave your property to persons or organizations, name a personal guardian for your children, name a person to manage your property, and name an executor after you pass away. If you die without a will in the state of Maryland, your property will be distributed according to the Maryland intestacy laws, and your wishes may not be carried out. The following are things to consider when writing a will.
Requirements for a Valid Will in Maryland
A person over the age of 18 of sound mind may create a valid will by signing the will with two credible witnesses present. The witnesses must also sign your will in your presence, and the date must be included. Initialing each page is an extra step that will ensure that each page is witnessed as part of your valid will. Holographic wills (wills that are written entirely by hand) are recognized in the state of Maryland, however, they must exactly and completely comply with Maryland law.
There is a chance that a Maryland court may not accept the will as valid if there are any discrepancies in the document. Maryland does not recognize oral wills, videotaped wills, or audio recordings of wills, as all wills must be in writing and signed and witnessed by two witnesses. There are strict requirements regarding drafting and executing a will. If these conditions are not met, such as there are handwriting or additional markings, the will may be considered as void. The proper preparation and execution of a will in Maryland is a complex legal matter, and contacting an experienced estate attorney can help ensure that your wishes after your death are carried out.
Guardianships and Trusts for Minor Children
If you have a minor child, and have been divorced, or have any situation that may cause a dispute regarding the care of your minor child, your will may become critical in the decisions regarding your child’s financial and physical care. Consulting an experienced attorney will help to ensure that your children are taken care of according to your wishes after your death.
Certain property such as jointly owned property, life insurance proceeds, or pensions are not disposed of in accordance with your will. While you are allowed to bequeath property to persons after your death, some property is exempt from being included within a will in Maryland.
Modifications of Wills
Oftentimes, life circumstances will change, requiring you to modify your will. Marriages, divorces, having or adopting children, moving to a different state, having a beneficiary die, deciding to change a personal representative (same meaning as Executor) are just some of the circumstances under which you may choose to modify your will. Your will is valid until it is officially and legally revoked or modified. Therefore, it is important to review your will whnever a significant life change occurs and if necessary either modify your will or revoke it and sign a new one.
Let Us Help You Today
Wills are complicated legal documents that can easily be considered null and void if executed incorrectly. Having an estate planning attorney listen to your wishes regarding your children and your property will ensure that your legal rights are protected, and your assets will be distributed according to your plan. Contact the experienced Prince Frederick estate & trust planning attorneys serving southern Maryland at Meng Law at 410-535-5500 or online today for a free consultation.