Wills can be a good way for a person to transfer property to chosen relatives, friends and charities upon their death. Without a will, the deceased's property will pass according to Maryland's laws of intestacy. This basically means the state determines the asset distribution, and this may not be what the deceased would have wanted.
While the following information is for general purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice, it goes without saying that many types of property can be included in a will, including real estate and personal property. However, there are times when certain types of property cannot be included in a will.
One type of property that is usually not included in a will is real estate jointly owned with rights of survivorship. In general, such property will pass to the co-owner, meaning that the creator of the will can only include a disposition of that property to a person other than the co-owner if the co-owner has also passed away.
One caveat to remember is that adding a joint owner with rights of survivorship to real estate may cause controversy after the creator's death, particularly if it conflicts with the creator's will. This is because it could be argued that such an act was merely carried out as an act of convenience. It could also be argued that such an act was actually meant to be a gift.
In addition, certain types of property in which a beneficiary is already named cannot be included in a will. Such property could include life insurance policies and individual retirement accounts. In these situations, the property will pass to the beneficiary, rather than to anyone dictated in the will.
As this shows, creating a will requires an understanding of the many nuances of estate planning law. But by seeking professional help, a person can create a valid will that meets their wishes.