There are many disadvantages of dying without a will in Maryland. A last will and testament is a written agreement that an individual has with regard to the distribution of their assets. A last will and testament will nominate a Personal Representative to serve, and it will discuss how an individual would like their assets to be distributed after death.
Maryland requires that a testator must be over the age of 18, must have the required mental capacity, must sign of their own free will, and the will must be attested to and witnessed by two witnesses. Those two witnesses must attest to and witness the original individual’s signature. If you need assistance with the will process, contact an experienced Maryland wills attorney today.
When a Person Should Contact an Attorney
Any individual over the age of 18, even if they do not have a lot of assets, can benefit from the preparation of a last will and testament.
Common triggers for individuals to begin considering the preparation of a last will and testament include major life events such as a birth, death, marriage or divorce, purchase of real estate, or a significant increase in net wealth.
Dying without an Existing Will
If a decedent dies without an existing will, then the Maryland laws of intestacy would step in to dictate how assets are distributed and to provide a list of priorities who will serve as Personal Representatives.
Disadvantages of Dying without a Will in Maryland
The primary disadvantages of dying without a last will and testament is that the individual who has passed away no longer has the ability to express what their wishes might have been. Any wishes that the individual had during their lifetime, for the distribution of their assets, may or may not be replicated in the laws of the intestacy.
Many times, dying without a last will and testament results in an increased administrative assistance, and it exposes the estate to family disputes. It can also result in an increased tax liability. It does not necessarily increase the tax liability, but the opportunity to plan to lower the tax liability often begins.
Steps to Avoid Dying without a Will
A person can contact an estate planning attorney to assist them with reviewing what their estate planning needs are. In addition to the creation of a last will and testament, many individuals will benefit greatly for planning for incapacity as well.
Contacting an Estate Attorney
An estate planning attorney can draft a last will and testament and they can also try to ensure that the document is executed properly. However, one of the common misunderstandings is that an estate planning attorney can force someone to finalize a last will and testament. While an attorney can draft the document, it is up to the person to move forward with the proceeding to sign the documents.