Can I Make My Own Will in Maryland?

Having a will is important for all adults, no matter their age or assets. When it comes to writing a will in Maryland, can you do so by yourself?

In Maryland, testators are permitted to make their own wills without outside assistance. That said, writing a will often requires experience. Furthermore, will writing must follow certain procedures in order to be honored after a person’s death. While there a few basic things to include in a will, such as beneficiaries and instructions for asset distribution, there are other elements that testators might not consider without assistance from our lawyers. Writing a will that is unclear can lead to problems when it is time for your assets to be distrusted among beneficiaries, which is why it is inadvisable to make your will by yourself in Maryland.

To have our Maryland wills and estate planning attorneys assess your case for free, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Can You Make Your Own Will in Maryland?

You can make your own will, provided it meets the requirements of a valid last will and testament in Maryland. An informal document will not be honored as a will.

If you want to make your will yourself, without any outside help, you can do so as long as it complies with Maryland statutes regarding last wills and testaments. First, the will must be typed. It must also be signed by two adult witnesses who are competent. Wills do not have to be notarized to be valid in Maryland.

Holographic wills are handwritten documents that are only valid in some cases. In Maryland, holographic wills are only honored when testators are stationed overseas in the military. Holographic wills will only be valid in Maryland for up to one year after a testator is discharged, provided they are still competent, according to Md. Code, Ests. & Trsts. Art. §4-103.

Oral wills or statements made in video or audio recordings generally will not be honored in Maryland. These types of statements do not comply with the requirements for wills set by Md. Code, Ests. & Trsts. Art. §4-102.

You must be a legal adult to write a will in Maryland, whether by yourself or with help from our lawyers. While it is often inadvisable, it is legal for testators to write their own wills in Maryland. Estate planning requires very specific expertise; even if you have legal experience, it might not apply when writing your will.

Things to Remember When Making Your Will in Maryland

When writing a will, it is important to consider how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death. There are a few basic things one should include in a will, whether they write it alone or with legal assistance.

First, start by identifying yourself in the document and the fact that the document is your last will and testament. Then, after assessing all of your assets, decide who you want to be beneficiaries of those assets. Beneficiaries are often a person’s spouse, children, friends, or others close to them. You can also make beneficiaries businesses or charities.

You should also name an executor of your will. This person will be responsible for handling your estate after your death. If you have minor children, you can include the name of the person you would like to be their guardian if you die prematurely. You must also get your will signed by two competent witnesses, whether you are writing it by yourself or with legal help.

These are the basic things one should include in their will. However, there are more intricate technicalities and verbiage that generally must be used in wills to avoid confusion regarding the distribution of assets or other matters. If a will is not expressly clear, it can more easily be contested. This might result in long-term legal battles between your loved ones while they are in dispute over your will. Because of this, writing your own will without any additional help might not be wise.

Should You Make Your Own Will in Maryland?

Generally speaking, it is best for individuals to consult our lawyers when writing their wills. Our Maryland wills and estate planning attorneys can ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes so that those wishes are properly carried out after your death.

Estate planning can be a complicated process. There are many matters required in the will drafting process that individuals might consider. To avoid arguments or disputes among beneficiaries after your death, it is best to enlist help from our attorneys. Our lawyers can include clear instructions written in verbiage that is consistent with the formalities of estate and will planning so that there is no question about your wishes after your death.

Our attorneys can also review your will with you periodically so that you can amend any elements that no longer reflect your wants. Changes to wills may need to be made throughout a person’s life, especially after significant life events, such as the birth of a child or a divorce. In order to change a will, you must execute a codicil in Maryland, otherwise any desired changes will be invalid.

Furthermore, it if you do not write a will that is consistent with Maryland’s requirements for these documents, your last will and testament will not be honored. This means that your assets will be distributed to heirs according to intestacy laws in Maryland. Depending on your relationship with your legal heirs, this might not reflect your wishes. Or, suppose you were in a long-term relationship but unmarried. If you then die without a will, your partner will not receive any of your assets under Maryland’s intestacy laws.

Contact Our Lawyers to Start Writing Your Will in Maryland

By calling (410) 694-7291, you can arrange a free review of your case from the Towson, MD wills and estate planning attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.