Gaithersburg, MD Wills + Estate Attorney

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Making a plan for your estate is a great way to ensure that your family, friends, or favorite organizations receive the portion of your estate that you intended to give them. When a person passes away without an estate plan or at least a valid will, they leave behind troublesome legal issues that their family or administrator of their estate will have to solve. If you or a family member needs assistance with estate planning, you should consult with our Gaithersburg wills and estate attorneys to get started.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras understands how an estate plan can benefit any person, and we would be pleased to speak with you about your estate planning goals. You do not have to handle your estate plan needs alone. To request a free and confidential meeting to discuss your estate plan, contact the Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 431-0911. You could also schedule your free consultation online.

How to Draft a Valid Will for Your Estate in Gaithersburg, MD

A will is a legal document that a person may use to direct the distribution of their assets after their death. For example, if you want to split the assets of your estate among your children after your death, a will could allow you to accomplish your goal. However, it is important to understand how to prepare a valid will in Maryland so that your wishes for your property are carried out when you are gone.

Requirements for a Will in Gaithersburg, MD

In Maryland, the creator of a will, also known as the testator, must be 18 years of age in order to draft a valid will. Additionally, it is required that the testator is of sound mind when drafting a will. To establish a sound mind the testator must understand the following when creating their will:

  • The purpose of a will and that they know why they are drafting a will
  • The testator understands their relationship to those named in the document and people typically named in wills (spouses, children, parents, etc.)
  • The testator has a firm grasp on the totality of their assets such as houses, vehicles, bank accounts, and other property

When a testator is not of sound mind when executing a will, this could lead to a will contest by parties named in the will or even by parties that believe they should have been named in the will.
A will can be executed successfully once it is signed by the testator and properly witnessed. In Maryland, a will must be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses that observe the testator placing his or her signature on the document. However, having three witnesses to the signing of the will can reinforce the validity of it.
When choosing witnesses to observe the execution of the will, it would be wise to select individuals that are not beneficiaries named in the will. While allowing a beneficiary to serve as a witness is legal in Maryland, it may call into question the validity of the will under certain circumstances. For instance, a beneficiary that believes they received a disproportionate share of the estate may allege that the beneficiary witness took advantage of the testator. That is why you should choose neutral witnesses to observe the will.

Dying Without a Valid Will in Gaithersburg, MD

If you pass away without a valid will in Maryland, you will be deemed to have died intestate. When a person dies intestate, the government will distribute the estate in accordance with the laws of intestacy of Maryland.
Maryland’s intestacy laws will typically divide the estate between family members of the decedent, with certain family members receiving a higher portion than others. For instance, if the deceased leaves behind her spouse and children, the spouse will receive half the estate while the other half will be divided among the children.
Avoiding intestacy is important as it will ensure that you will control exactly what happens to your estate after your death.
To learn about more estate planning tools that can assist you, you should continue reading and speak with a Gaithersburg wills and estate lawyer today.

Estate Planning Services Our Firm Offers in Gaithersburg, MD

In addition to the drafting and execution of a will, Rice, Murtha & Psoras offer other estate planning services that can benefit you. The establishment of a trust is another estate planning service our firm can offer you.
A trust is a fiduciary agreement where the creator of a trust will transfer property to the trustee in order for them to manage the property on behalf of a third-party beneficiary. A trust can help a third-party beneficiary avoid lengthy probate proceedings and extensive taxes that may be placed upon the property that is transferred through a will or intestacy.
There are many other estate planning tools that may work for your unique estate planning goals:

  • A durable power of attorney
  • Guardianship designations
  • Letters of intent
  • Advanced care directive

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Our legal team is here to help you achieve an estate plan that provides for your family.

Consult with Our Dedicated Gaithersburg, MD Wills & Estate Lawyer Today

If you or a family member would like legal support to manage your estate planning goals, you should work with a Gaithersburg wills and estate lawyer today. The legal team at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras has years of experience with various areas of estate law, and we would be pleased to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your estate planning needs, contact our law offices at (410) 431-0911. You could also use our online submission form to schedule your free consultation.