If you are just starting the estate planning process, you may want to start with creating a will. The main purpose of a will is to specify how your assets will be distributed after your death, but it can be used for other purposes as well.
As you create your will, you should make sure that your will meets all legal requirements and includes all necessary information.
Maryland law sets a number of requirements for wills to meet before a court will find them valid. These requirements include:
- The maker of the will (known as the testator) must have been at least 18 years of age and legally competent at the time the will was executed.
- The will must be in writing and signed by the testator.
- The will must be attested and signed by two or more credible/disinterested witnesses in the maker’s presence.
As you draft your will, you should make sure to:
- Name an executor (and backup executor if your first choice is unable or unwilling) to administer your estate when you pass away.
- Specify which assets will be going to which beneficiaries.
- Name a guardian for your children (if you have children under the age of 18) if you pass away.
- Consider setting up a testamentary trust to go into effect when you pass away.
If a will does not meet all the necessary requirements, the court may ignore it altogether and distribute the decedent’s estate in accordance with the rules of intestacy. To make sure your will is valid, you should consider consulting with an estate planning attorney in your area.