For many people in Maryland, creating a will is a good thing to do when it comes to passing down their assets after their death. However, executing a will must be done with certain formalities in order for it to be considered valid and enforceable.
In Maryland, the creator of the will -- also known as the testator -- must sign the will in order for it to be valid. If the testator is unable to sign the will, another person may sign the will with the testator's permission and in the testator's presence. In addition, two witnesses must also sign the will. The testator must be 18 years old or older, and mentally competent. Wills generally need to be in writing, and even a handwritten will may be acceptable in some circumstances.
While the testator is alive, their will is not considered a public record. After the testator's death, the will then becomes a matter of public record. In addition to filing one's will with the Register of Wills, it is a good idea to keep the will in a safe place where it cannot be stolen, damaged or destroyed, for example, in case of a fire.
As this shows, creating a will does not need to be difficult, but it does need to be done carefully. When creating a will, the testator has very specific ideas about how he or she wants their property to be passed on after their death. With the right help, a valid will can be created that will accomplish that goal, allowing the testator to rest easy that their end of life decisions will be honored. Creating a valid will can also help the executor of the estate resolve claims, pay debts and distribute assets.