Montgomery County Wills Lawyer
A will is a staple to any well thought out estate plan. Regardless of where you are in your adult life, there is always a benefit to having a will in place. Passing away without having a valid will can leave your loved ones with added burdens during the process of probating and administering your estate.
You can create a will that reflects your wishes with the help of a Montgomery County wills lawyer. Call today and schedule a consultation with an experienced trusts and estates attorney.
Executing a Valid Will in MoCo
Only adults over the age of 18 who have legal capacity can execute a valid will. In order for a will to be enforceable, it must be signed in presence of two credible witnesses. Although not required, it is also beneficial to have wills notarized.
A will that was executed out of state will be enforceable in Montgomery County as long as it was executed in accordance with the laws of the state where it was executed. For more information about executing a valid will, consult with a knowledgeable MoCo wills lawyer.
Key Provisions in a Will
Among the most central provisions in a will are:
- Appointing a personal representative
- Appointing of a guardian for minor children
- Designating the beneficiaries of the estate
Personal representatives are in charge of estate administration which encompasses important tasks such as the collection and distribution of assets. Having a will does not avoid the probate process. Assets that are titled in the sole name of the decedent, whether or not there was a will, will be subject to probate. Only assets with designated beneficiaries or joint owners will avoid probate.
Consequences of Not Having a Will
A will directs who will receive an individual’s assets upon their death. When a person dies without a will, there is no instrument making such a designation. However, there are state laws in Montgomery County that apply in this exact situation. In the case involving an intestate estate, that is when a person did not have a valid will, the laws of intestate succession apply to determine the decedent’s heirs.
If an individual has no identifiable heirs, their assets could end up going to the state. These laws are meant to be a backup plan. It is not advisable to rely on laws in intestacy in place of an estate plan.
The default provisions are drafted to reflect how most individuals would want their assets distributed, but this may not be the case particularly with blended families or second marriages. The appointment of guardians for minor children and personal representatives will also be left to the discretion of the court if there is no will.
Where to Store a Will
When storing a will at home, it is a good idea to store it in a safe place with other important documents. It should be kept in a place that is secure, but also easy enough for someone to find when necessary. Alternatively, wills can be filed with the Register of Wills in Maryland for safe storage. The applicable filing fee is $5.00. Some firms store wills in a secure safe deposit box or firm safe.
How to Revoke or Modify a Will
One of the great advantages to having a will is that is can be modified or revoked by the testator any time before death, as long as they retain capacity. Changes in family or financial situations often prompt will modifications or revocations. Wills are commonly revoked by executing a new will or physical destruction.
There is no limit to the number of times a will can be changed. Modifications can be made to the entire document or to just certain sections or bequests. If changes are minor, a document called a codicil may be used in lieu of an entirely new will. A MoCo wills lawyer could help an individual revoke or modify their will if they choose to do so.
Talk to a Montgomery County Wills Attorney
Make sure you take every opportunity to protect the assets that you want to leave to your loved ones. Reach out to a well-established attorney who could help you execute a valid will. To schedule your meeting with a Montgomery County will lawyer, call today.