Baltimore Estate Attorneys

The Importance of Having a Will in Maryland

If you die without a valid will, you are considered to have died “intestate.” When a person dies intestate, they have no control over what happens after their death. Maryland law will dictate how your possessions and property are distributed among your surviving relatives. In nearly every case, the prescribed formula the state uses will not coincide with your wishes. In fact, it is not uncommon in situations where someone dies intestate that their families and loved ones are left without a means of support.

For instance, if you are not married and have been living with a partner for years, they will not have any rights under Maryland’s intestate distribution. Another typical issue that many people are unaware of is that a spouse might have to share an estate with the surviving parents of the deceased. Maryland’s intestate succession laws also treat half-siblings in the same manner as whole-siblings while making no provisions for stepchildren. Furthermore, without a valid will, your minor children might not be provided for as you intended.

If you have a complicated family situation or want to ensure that your loved ones and family are provided for in the event of your death, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Ellicott City, MD wills and estates lawyer to understand your available options.

Establishing a Will for a Maryland Estate

Wills are likely the most fundamental document that every individual should draft when creating an estate plan. A creator of a will, also referred to as the testator, could use a will to oversee the distribution of real estate, personal property, and other possessions after they pass away. If you wish to leave all your property to your favorite organizations after you die, a valid will could help you accomplish that goal.

Additionally, a will could be used for many other reasons. For instance, if you wish to designate a guardian for your minor children if you pass away before they reach the age of majority, a valid will could help you address this matter.

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Maryland Estate Planning Tools

A will is often the foundation for a good estate plan. However, there are many areas that a will cannot cover. As a result, it would be wise to consider other options for your estate plan that can address many other matters that you may not normally think about.

One common estate planning tool is a durable power of attorney document. This document allows the creator to appoint an individual to make financial and legal decisions on their behalf in the event the creator becomes incapacitated. For instance, if a creator of the document can no longer operate their business, the representative could act in the best interests of the business.

A power of attorney for healthcare purposes could also be created. This form permits a named individual to make healthcare decisions when you are not able. This means if you need an important operation, but you are not able to consent to the procedure, the appointee could consent on your behalf.

These are just a few ways that estate planning could help you prepare for a number of unexpected events. Our firm would be pleased to serve you in planning the future of your estate.

Legal Requirements for a Valid Will in Maryland

If you want to provide for your family and loved ones in the event of your death, you need to ensure that your will is legally valid and enforceable. First, a will must be in writing to be enforceable under Maryland law. Additionally, the individual making the will must be eighteen or older and of sound mind. Sound mind means that the individual has a clear understanding of their assets and is able to express their wishes for their property after their death. Furthermore, a will must be signed in front of two witnesses who will also have to sign and attest that they saw the testator sign the will. If you fail to follow the legal procedures necessary to draft an enforceable document, your will could be contested.

It is not uncommon for someone who has a will to simply forget about it, believing they have provided for their family. However, many people in Maryland often want to amend their existing wills as their life circumstances have changed, including acquiring additional property, having more children, or divorcing and remarrying. Your will should express your most current wishes. When someone fails to address the changes in their lives in their will, their desires are not carried out or understood. Additionally, if there was an existing will, it must be formally destroyed or revoked to avoid confusion. Our Baltimore wills and estates lawyer will explain this process.

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