When you die, your family and loved ones will suffer the pain of your loss. Their grief should not be coupled with having to deal with a confusing estate or a lack of understanding of your intentions. By taking the time to meet with an experienced estate planner, you could provide your loved ones guidance and financial security in the event of your death.
You are never too young to start thinking about estate planning. This is especially the case if you have recently started a family. A will or trust could provide for your children in the event of your death. Our Annapolis, MD wills and estates attorney will thoroughly review your circumstances and offer advice on the best tools available to achieve your goals. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
How Wills are Important for Estate Planning in Annapolis, MD
While estate planning encompasses various strategies, the most essential tool is the last will and testament. If you do not have a written and enforceable expression of your wishes after your death, Maryland law will dictate the distribution of your property and other vital decisions. Our Annapolis wills and estates attorney understands that every one of our clients’ situations is unique and that your estate plan should be tailored to you and your family’s needs.
While a will is generally thought of as a document that details how your property is divided among your heirs, it could have many other important provisions. For example, a will could provide instructions on the care of a minor child. You could also transfer the title of real property, such as your home, and limit the transfer of certain assets based on your family’s circumstances. Furthermore, you could provide your family and loved ones with detailed instructions on your funeral service and burial.
Updating a Will in Annapolis
If you have not considered a will up until this point, you should contact our Annapolis wills and estates attorney to start the process. If you already have a will, you should consider amending it, especially if you have experienced any significant changes in your life. In many cases, having an outdated will presents more challenges and difficulties for your surviving family members than not having a will at all.
Some of the reasons you would want to update your will include a change in marital status, either divorced, remarried, or widowed. An outdated will could leave a new spouse without any right to your property. Additionally, if you have had a new child or adopted a child, you will want your will to provide for them as well as your older children. This is especially the case when people marry into blended families.
Life continues, and you might have acquired substantially more assets since your original will was drafted. In some cases, you might have particular items you want to see going to specific people that you did not know when you made your will. Also, as you age, it is possible to have different thoughts and opinions that impact the wishes you want to express. Our Annapolis wills and estates attorney will assist you in executing a new and enforceable will.
Challenging a Will in Annapolis
Not everyone in Maryland has the ability to challenge a will. A person must establish standing first. Establishing standing is done in one of two ways. The challenger, or “caveator,” must be a named beneficiary in the will or demonstrate that they would have inherited under Maryland’s intestate laws if the will is invalid.
The caveator must also have sufficient grounds to challenge an existing will – the mere belief that they were treated unfairly is not enough.
A will can be contested if the person who created the will was taking advantage of or coerced into executing the document. Undue influence occurs when a person uses their power over another individual to draft or amend a will that benefits their interests. One sign of undue influence is an amended will that substantially changes the original bequests.
As people age, their mental capacity might diminish. If someone drafted or amended their will while not of sound mind, the will could be challenged. Proving this requires expert medical testimony as to the mental condition of the testator.
When a will fails to comply with Maryland’s statutory requirements, it becomes open to challenges. A will must be in writing and signed by the testator and by two witnesses who were in the testator’s presence when they executed the will.
If another will exists, it could invalid a probated will. An Annapolis court will usually hold that the most recent valid will voids any previous documents. However, this is not always the case. When amending or drafting a new will, our Annapolis wills and estates attorney will provide specific instructions on destroying any previous documents to avoid confusion or arguments among your surviving family and loved ones.
Call Our Annapolis, MD Wills and Estates Attorney for a Free Consultation
No one wants to think about their death, but it is inevitable and it will have an impact on your family and loved ones. By taking the time now to put together a comprehensive estate plan, you can provide for the financial security of your family or loved ones. If you have made plans, it might be time to revisit them – especially if your circumstances have changed. Our Annapolis, MD wills and estates attorney has been assisting our clients for over two decades. If you are thinking about a will or want to amend or add to your existing estate plan, contact our Maryland estate planning attorney at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.