Writing a will is a similar process in every state, but there are important differences to know. Maryland has its own legal specifications for a will to be valid. It is important that you understand these legal requirements, otherwise your will may not be recognized by the state. To make an online will in Maryland, be sure to follow the specific statutes required by the state—you will also want to use an online will that is designed for the state of Maryland
Can I make a will online in Maryland?
Yes, you can make a will online in Maryland. To do so, use an online will making service. We recommend USLegalWills for quality and customization.
Here are the legal requirements for wills in Maryland:
- The person making the will (the Testator) must be at least 18 years of age and be of sound mind.
- The will must be in writing. The state of Maryland does not allow digital-only wills.
- The will must be signed by the Testator in the physical presence of at least two credible witnesses.
- The will must be attested and signed by two or more credible witnesses; the witnesses must sign in the physical presence of the Testator.
While it is not required that the witnesses be “disinterested parties” (meaning, they are not beneficiaries in the will), it is best to choose two “disinterested” witnesses to avoid legal complications.
For a will to be valid in Maryland, you and your witnesses must include an attestation clause at the end of the will—otherwise the court may deem your will invalid. Here is an example of the language needed for the attestation clause:
- “Signed and declared by the above named Testator, as and for their last will and testament, in the presence of us, who at their request, in their presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses” (sourced here).
When you make a will online, you must follow the same above requirements. Any will, made online or otherwise, must meet these requirements in order to be recognized as valid.
Does Maryland require a notarized will?
No, in Maryland, you do not need to notarize your will to make it legal. When a will is presented in the probate court, it must be validated. In many states, you can notarize a separate document (known as a “self-proving affidavit”) to speed up the probate process. These affidavits typically mean witnesses do not have to testify to the authenticity of the will since it is “self-proved.”
However, unlike many other states, Maryland does not require a separate, notarized “self-proving affidavit” for the will to be “self-proved.” Instead, because of the required attestation clause for wills in Maryland, all properly attested and witnessed wills are considered valid.
After you make an online will in Maryland, you will want to print it out and sign it in front of two witnesses, who then sign it and the attestation clause in front of you. If those conditions are met, then the will is considered valid.
Can I name an executor in Maryland?
In Maryland, an executor can be named in an online will. The executor is the person designated to settle the estate and ensure that the will is followed after the Testator’s death. It is a good idea to name someone you know and trust as the executor of your estate. If you do not name someone in the will, the probate court will appoint someone. Not naming an executor in your will may cause legal delays in the probate process while the court determines who is best to serve as the executor of your estate.
Here are the requirements for someone to qualify to serve as an executor in Maryland:
- The executor must be at least 18 year of age.
- The executor must be of sound mind (not having been judged incapicated by a court).
- The executor cannot have been convicted of a “serious crime” (such as: fraud, extortion, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, or theft).
- The executor must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, unless this person is your spouse or related to you by blood.
Another condition that a Maryland probate court will reject a potential executor is:
- Unless the person is your surviving spouse or relative within third degree of kinship, the executor may not be a full-time judge of any Maryland or U.S. court, a clerk of court, or a register.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there is an additional requirement in Maryland:
- A nonresident executor must appoint an in-state agent to accept legal papers on behalf of your estate.
Do I need an attorney to make a will in Maryland?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will. It is always wise to consult an estate planning attorney if you have a large or complicated estate. In most cases, though, with a simple estate and a straightforward will, online will making is a good option. It is important that you follow all the legal requirements for a will to be recognized as valid in the state of Maryland, otherwise your will might not be accepted by the probate court. To make an online will in Maryland, be sure to use an online will making service with state-specific templates.
What types of wills are valid in Maryland?
Whether you make it online or not, any type of will that meets the state-specific requirements is valid. In Maryland, the main requirements are that: the will must be in writing, signed by the Testator in front of two witnesses, who attest and sign in front of the Testator.
Can I make a holographic will in Maryland?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament. It is written and signed by the Testator (the person making the will) with no attesting witnesses.
Holographic wills are only recognized in Maryland under certain circumstances. These circumstances are:
- The Testator is serving in the U.S. armed forces.
- The will is written entirely in the Testator’s handwriting.
- The will is written and signed outside of the U.S. or its territories.
It will also become void one year after the Testator is discharged.
Can I make a nuncupative or video will in Maryland?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, sometimes left in a video. In any state, a nuncupative will is often considered an emergency or last resort type of will. It is better to leave a nuncupative will than no instructions at all, but Maryland does not recognize nuncupative wills. In the eyes of the court, for a will to be valid, it must be in writing, signed in front of two eligible witnesses who attest and sign it as well.
How is a living will different from an online will in Maryland?
A living will is also known as an advance directive. It is a legal document separate from a last will and testament. A living will is a legally binding document that contains medical decisions and end-of-life care while a last will and testament contains decisions regarding guardianship for minor children, how the estate is to be divided, and other such directions.
For medical directives and end-of-life care, you need to make a valid living will for those instructions. It is your responsibility to let your family and your doctors know that you have a living will; you will want to make copies to give to family members, doctors, and the executor of your estate.
You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on living wills in Maryland, as well as the form to print out, you can go here.
In Maryland, the requirements for a living will to be effective and legally binding are:
- It must be printed out and signed.
- It must be signed by two witnesses.
- If you name a health care agent, that individual cannot be a witness.
- One of the two witnesses cannot be the executor of your estate or stand to receive any money or property from your estate.
Why do I need to make a will online in Maryland?
When someone dies without a will, every state has its own laws pertaining to what happens to their property. The state will also appoint a guardian to any minor children as well as name an executor for the estate. The estate is then divided between surviving family members according to the intestacy distribution laws of Maryland. This can become a lengthy legal process, often holding up any property in the probate court process for months at a time.
When you own property or if you have children, it is best to make a will. If you want to distribute your property in a certain way, you can only do that if you make a will. Having a will can speed up the probate process, which in turn makes it easier for your family to settle your estate.
What can I include in an online will in Maryland?
You can include the following when you make an online will in Maryland:
- The executor of your estate.
- Guardians for any minor children.
- Guardians for any property left to minor children.
- Someone to care for any remaining pets.
- Property or gifts to family and friends.
- Property or gifts to charities or other organizations.
- The distribution of family heirlooms and sentimental items.
- The distribution of any other personal or sentimental items.
What should not be included in a will in Maryland?
A last will and testament is not the right place for designating end-of-life care or funeral instructions. A last will and testament is not typically consulted until after the funeral, which is usually arranged immediately after death. Any funeral instructions left in a will might not be known until after the funeral. And in order for medical directives and end-of-life care stipulations to be effective, they should be in a living will.
You do not have to make a separate document that describes your wishes in regards to your funeral, but it might make it easier for your family to honor your wishes if you do. You can give this document to the executor of your estate or any other trusted person—it does not need to be signed or witnessed; it is an informal document that your family can refer to when planning your funeral. If you do not want to write a separate document, you can talk with a family member about your wishes instead.
Can I change or revoke an online will made in Maryland?
A will is a legally binding document, whether it is made online or not. But you can change or revoke your will at any time.
In Maryland, you can change or revoke a will by:
- Writing a new will that explicitly revokes the old one or implicitly revokes the old one by including contradictory terms. The new will must be validly executed.
- By burning, canceling, tearing, or otherwise physically destroying it.
- By ordering someone else to physically destroy it in front of you.
Whenever something big happens in your life, it is a good idea to update the will. In Maryland, marriage and birth (or adoption) of a child may automatically revoke your prior will, for example. You will want to revisit your will after any major life change—marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, relocation to another state or country, or any acquisition of significant assets which change the distribution of property. Many times, it is best to revoke your old will and write a new will. However, to make only minor changes, you can add an amendment to your will instead. This amendment is known as a codicil, and it must be finalized with the same formalities as a will.
How do I finalize an online will in Maryland?
When you make an online will in Maryland, you want to finalize it in the following way:
- You will want to print it out, as it must be in writing.
- You will want to sign it in front of two witness, and
- You will want the two witnesses to attest and sign the will in front of you.
In Maryland, you will want to include an attestation clause at the end of your will; otherwise, the will might be rejected by the probate court.
Be sure to consider these special considerations in Maryland:
- Include an attestation clause.
- If you marry and have a child (birth or adoption), and the child survives you, any will executed before the marriage will be revoked.
- If you divorce (or the marriage is annulled), any provision in a will related to a spouse will be revoked.
We tested multiple online will services to find out which ones produce the best last will and testament. Of all the wills we created—and had our lawyer review—USLegalWills had the best end product. To make an online will in Maryland, we recommend USLegalWills.