How to Create a Will in Maryland

By Barbara Diggs

Seven out of 10 Americans die without a will, according to the University of Maryland’s Maryland Cooperative Extension. Many people believe that wills are unnecessary because they do not have many or valuable assets; however, a will can make life easier for your survivors, even if you only have modest possessions. A legal valid will ensures that your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. Although it is legal to write a will yourself, it is less risky to hire a lawyer to prepare it for you.

Seven out of 10 Americans die without a will, according to the University of Maryland’s Maryland Cooperative Extension. Many people believe that wills are unnecessary because they do not have many or valuable assets; however, a will can make life easier for your survivors, even if you only have modest possessions. A legal valid will ensures that your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. Although it is legal to write a will yourself, it is less risky to hire a lawyer to prepare it for you.

Step 1

Choose an executor. The executor of your will carries out the instructions contained in your will after your death. As this role can be very time-consuming and carries many responsibilities, be sure to discuss the job with the person you intend to name to be certain they’re willing to take on the role. Also, select an alternate executor in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to carry out his duties when the time comes.

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Step 2

Decide upon your beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are those people who will receive your property. Note that under Maryland law, you cannot disinherit your spouse. According to the Maryland State Bar Association, if you have no children, your spouse is entitled to at least 50 percent of your estate; if you do have children, your spouse may claim 33.3 percent of the net estate. You should also note that if you fail to specifically exclude a child from inheriting and other children are named, the unnamed child will receive his intestate share. Thus, you may disinherit a child, but must do so explicitly.

Step 3

Assess and divide your assets. You should make a list of your property and possessions including real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and personal property. After the list is complete, either assign your heirs a percentage of your total assets or bequeath specific assets to specific people.

Step 4

Record your wishes in written form. You can write your will by having a lawyer prepare it, writing it yourself on a typewriter or computer, or entering your information about your executor, beneficiaries, and assets in an online program that generates will documents in accordance with the laws of Maryland. A handwritten will is legal in Maryland, but only if it is attested and signed by at least two witnesses in your presence.

Step 5

Obtain appropriate signatures. You must sign your will at its logical conclusion and have two or more witnesses sign as well. Under Maryland law, your witnesses must be over the age of 18 and must sign the will in your presence. The will doesn’t have to be notarized to be considered valid.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Make Up a Simple Will and Have It Notarized

References

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The Making & Revocation of Wills

All 50 states recognize written wills that meet each state's specific requirements for a valid will, according to FindLaw. States also have various legal methods of revoking wills. Whether you are making a will or revoking one, you may wish to consult an attorney who practices estate law in your state to make sure your will meets your state's requirements.

How to Make a Will in Louisiana

Detailing the distribution of your personal items and assets among your loved ones in your will helps avoid confusion after your death. Your will must be specific and easy to understand to avoid misinterpretations of your intent by the Louisiana probate court. Louisiana law contains standards for valid wills in probate, the legal proceedings used to give authority to your named executor. The executor is the person who petitions the court for probate and settles your final affairs.

How to Create a Legal Will in Pennsylvania

When you do not leave a will, your family inherits your assets in an order determined by your state’s statutes. Typically, this is your spouse, then your children, followed by your parents, siblings and finally grandparents. For instance, if you do not have a spouse or children and your parents are deceased, your sister would inherit everything you own, even if you have not spoken to her since you were children. In Pennsylvania, if you are 18 or older and mentally competent, you can legally write a will to prevent this.

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