Wills Attorney in Dunkirk, Maryland
Contrary to popular belief, creating a will is not something only wealthy people can benefit from. If you love your family and want what’s best for them, drafting a will and creating other estate planning documents should be one of your priorities.
Our wills attorney at Law Offices of Julie A. Schejbal, CHTD can help you with every aspect of the process of drafting a will to make sure that the document clearly identifies your wishes. From our office in Dunkirk, Maryland, we serve clients in the surrounding area, including Charles County, Calvert County, St. Mary’s County, and Prince George’s County. Set up a consultation with our estate planning attorney to start planning for your future.
Overview of Wills
A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document created to outline one’s final wishes and how one’s assets will be distributed after death.
In your will, you can name an executor to manage your estate, appoint guardians for any minor children, and make specific bequests to loved ones or charitable organizations. A will is an essential part of any estate plan, and without one, your estate may be distributed according to intestacy laws, which may or may not be in line with your wishes.
Common Types of Wills
There are several types of wills that you may consider depending on your specific needs and situation. These include:
Simple will: A basic will that outlines how you want your property distributed after you die.
Pour-over will: A will that “pours over” any assets not included in a trust into the trust after your death.
Living will: A will that outlines your wishes for end-of-life medical care if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions.
Holographic will: A will that is handwritten and signed by the testator (the person creating the will).
Nuncupative will: An oral will that is made in extreme circumstances, such as when a person is on their deathbed or in a life-threatening situation.
Unlike other states, Maryland recognizes holographic (handwritten) wills, but they must be created and signed in compliance with state law. However, according to the official website of the State of Maryland, oral, electronic, or video wills are not recognized.
Content of the Will
A will can include the following components:
Identification of the testator
Declaration of sound mind and intent to create a will
Appointment of an executor (the person who will carry out the provisions of the will)
Identification of beneficiaries (the people who will inherit your assets)
Instructions for how your assets should be distributed
Signatures of the testator and witnesses
Each state has its own specific laws regarding the creation of wills. In Maryland, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to create a will. The will must be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses who are at least 18 years old and not beneficiaries of the will. The witnesses must also sign the will in each other’s presence.
Reasons to Draft a Will
There are several reasons why you should draft a will, regardless of how old or young you are, how poor or wealthy you are, and how healthy or ill you are:
To control your assets. A will allows you to specify who receives your property, assets, and estate after you pass away. This can prevent disputes among family members and ensure that your final wishes are met.
To protect your minor children. If you have minor children, a will allows you to name a guardian to care for them if something were to happen to you and your spouse.
To minimize (or avoid) probate. Probate is the legal process of validating your will, paying off any debts, and distributing your assets. A well-drafted will can streamline this process, which can save your estate time and money.
To minimize estate taxes. With a well-drafted will, you may be able to minimize the amount of estate taxes that your estate owes.
To update and modify your estate plan. A will is not a static document, and you can modify it at any time to reflect changes in your life, such as the birth of a child or a change in your marital status.
If you are considering creating a will to document your wishes or for other reasons, contact a wills attorney in Dunkirk, Maryland, to get help drafting a valid and legally-binding will.
Consequences of Not Having a Will
If you do not have a will, your estate may be distributed according to your state’s laws, which may not be consistent with your wishes. This can lead to disputes among family members, prolonged legal battles, and a lengthy probate process. Additionally, without a will, the court will appoint an administrator to manage your estate, which may result in higher expenses, including legal fees, court costs, and administrative fees.
Reasons Why You Need an Attorney to Help You Draft a Will
While it is technically possible to create a will without an attorney, there are several reasons why you might want to consider working with an experienced attorney to draft your will:
An attorney can ensure that your will is legally valid and meets the requirements set forth by state law.
An attorney can help you identify and address potential legal issues that could arise after you die.
An attorney can provide objective advice and guidance on how to distribute your assets in a way that protects your loved ones.
An attorney can help you ensure that your will is properly executed and witnessed to avoid challenges to its validity in probate court.
An attorney can help you minimize taxes and other costs associated with estate planning.
An attorney can assist in the ongoing management of your estate plan, updating your documents as needed as your circumstances change.
An attorney can ensure that your estate plan is integrated with other legal documents, such as powers of attorney and health care directives, to provide comprehensive protection in case of illness or incapacity.
Reach out to our wills attorney at Law Offices of Julie A. Schejbal, CHTD to get the guidance you need when drafting a will and creating a comprehensive estate plan.
Wills Attorney Serving
While wills can serve as a powerful tool for your estate plan, they are only effective if they are properly drafted in compliance with state law requirements. Our wills attorney in Dunkirk can help you create a valid and legally-binding will to make sure that your wishes will be carried out after you are gone. Reach out to Law Offices of Julie A. Schejbal, CHTD, to set up a free consultation.