In the age of health care directives, power of attorney and a myriad of trust options both revocable and irrevocable, it is important to remember that residents of Maryland still have a basic and important estate planning tool at their disposal --wills.
Simply put, a will dictates what is to happen to a person's property after that person dies. There are certain requirements that must be met for a will in Maryland to be valid. The person creating the will must sign the document, as must two witnesses, while they are in the presence of the creator of the will.
Wills can be changed prior to the creator's death, so long as the creator can be deemed competent. Rather than simply amending the existing will, any changes should be made by executing a codicil with the same above requirements that are needed to create a valid will itself.
In order to keep a will safe, the creator of the document may file it with the state Register of Wills. While the will is deposited in the Register of Wills' office, during the creator's lifetime, it can only be accessed by either the creator or by a person the creator has given permission to in writing, such as the creator's personal representative.
In the end, there are many good reasons to create a will. Wills are not only for the wealthy. Most people have some assets, even if it is only a sentimental piece of personal property, that they would like to see handed down to a specific individual following their death. Wills can dictate how a person's assets will be distributed.
Wills can also include charitable gifts and name who should be made the guardian of any minor children in the event of both parents' deaths. A will can also name a personal representative who will tie up a person's affairs after their death, such as paying bills and distributing assets per the direction of the will. All of these are some reasons why individuals in Maryland may consider creating a will.