A last will and testament is a written document that outlines the wants and wishes one has for the distribution of their property and possessions after their passing. A last will and testament expresses the deceased’s wishes for either burial or cremation following their death. Most wills will nominate a personal representative and include other provisions for children and other family members. For more basics on Maryland Last Will and Testaments, the Douglas C. Lauenstein, explains below.
General Rules for a Maryland Will
A last will and testament is required by Maryland law to have an attestation clause and be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses. Additionally, the one who is drafting their will must meet certain requirements to make a valid will, they must have testamentary capacity, in order to execute a valid will.
Competence to Signing a Will
Testators need testamentary capacity to sign a valid last will and testament in the state of Maryland. This capacity can be determined by an attorney after they have determined the testator’s state of mind: their ability to identify their assets, family members, and how they would like to proceed with distribution of said assets after their passing. Testamentary capacity is necessary to ensure that the testator fully understands the assets that they own and how the assets will be distributed upon their death. Testamentary capacity can be subject to litigation after a person dies. An attorney can instruct a testator on gathering evidence to support the fact that the testator has testamentary capacity.
Other Types of Wills
There are several different types of wills that partially differ from an original last will and testament and can be applied under different circumstances. Holographic wills are wills that have been drafted entirely by the testator themselves. In the state of Maryland, these holographic wills must comply directly with Maryland law. If a will is not written and witnessed properly, the courts may not recognize the will as valid and the distribution of the testator’s assets will default to the laws of intestacy.
Nuncupative or oral wills are simply “verbal” wills. The state of Maryland does not recognize oral wills as an official last will and testament, as they must be written documents signed by the testator with two independent witnesses. Additionally, audio or videotaped recordings are also generally not considered as an official last will and testament in the state of Maryland.
Possible Reasons Why a Will Can’t be Recognized
There are several instances in which a will may not be recognized in the state of Maryland as an official will or testament. In most cases, it is because the will was not signed by the testator, it was missing the attestation clause, or the signing was not witnessed by two independent witnesses. Other instances include wills with markings that may suggest that the will was voided or if it can be proven that the testator lacked testamentary capacity.
To Learn More, Contact the Lauenstein Law Firm
When it comes to drafting a last will and testament, it is important to ensure your understanding of its components as well as the importance of its accuracy. To learn more about a Maryland will, do not hesitate to contact Douglas C. Lauenstein at (410)256-0311.