While “estate planning” in Maryland can involve many complex steps, the most basic is making a will. Most adults should draw up a will to protect both their assets and heirs. But major life events may create changes in your estate planning which may prompt you to change your will. To make sure that your wishes are carried out, you want to make sure that your edits will be considered valid by the probate court.
Are handwritten edits to your will legal?
Maryland allows written wills as long as two additional people witness the act. However, handwritten edits make the probate process more difficult, and can result in the entire will being thrown out of court. If that occurs, decisions about your assets and heirs will be left up to the discretion of the probate judge.
How do you make sure your edited will is legal?
If your estate planning is going to have a legally binding edited will, you will need to create a codicil. This legal document allows you to make small edits to your will without needing to rewrite the entire document. A codicil may be the right choice if you are going to make small changes, such as:
• Altering the executor
• Adding new beneficiaries
• Updating assets bequeathed to beneficiaries
• Changing the guardians of your minor children
If your changes involve a much larger scale, consider instead rewriting your will in order to avoid confusion.
A properly edited will allow you to make the decisions about your estate
If your will is not properly edited, the court will ignore your decisions and wants about your estate. This affects any minor children, adult heirs, and the property you may leave behind. If you want your wishes to be taken into consideration when you pass, you need to make sure your edits are valid.