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Wills Attorneys in Upper Marlboro, Maryland

We get it — thinking about the future can be daunting, especially when it involves planning for what happens after we're gone. It's not an easy topic, but it's an important one.  

At Sanders & Sanders, Attorneys at Law, we're here to guide you through this process and help you secure your legacy. To understand, create, and modify wills, reach out to us for support. We serve those in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and neighboring areas — including Clinton, Bowie, Fort Washington, and Largo, Maryland, as well as Washington D.C.

Reach out to our skilled estate planning attorneys today for support.  

Overview of Wills 

A will, in its simplest terms, is a legal document that spells out how you want your assets distributed after you pass away. It's your voice from beyond, giving directives on who gets what, from your property, investments, and even your cherished personal belongings. 

There are different types of wills, each designed to cater to specific needs: 

  • Simple Wills: This is the most basic type of will, typically used by individuals with a small, straightforward estate. It outlines who should inherit the assets and who should execute the will. 

  • Testamentary Trust Wills: These types of wills create a trust upon the death of the individual. They are used when the beneficiaries are minors or are unable to manage their inheritance. 

  • Joint Wills: Often used by married couples, this will allows the surviving spouse to inherit the entire estate. Once the surviving spouse dies, the estate is distributed according to the will's instructions. 

  • Living Wills: Not to be confused with the traditional will, a living will specifies a person's wishes concerning medical treatments in circumstances where they are unable to express informed consent. 

  • Pour-over Wills: This type of will is used in conjunction with a trust. Any assets not included in the trust are poured over into the trust upon death, and then distributed according to the trust's terms. 

When drafting a will, it's crucial to provide detailed information about your assets. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings. You also have the power to designate an executor — someone you trust to carry out your wishes and handle the distribution of your assets. Commonly inherited assets range from real estate properties and bank accounts to retirement accounts, investments, and personal items like jewelry, artwork, and family heirlooms. 

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Why Having a Will is Important 

Without a will, you leave your estate's fate in the hands of intestate succession laws. In other words, the state decides who gets your assets. This could lead to outcomes that don't align with your wishes or your loved ones' best interests. A will gives you control over who receives your assets and how they're distributed. 

Probate is the legal process where a will is validated and the distribution of assets is carried out. A well-drafted will can simplify the probate process and make it easier for your loved ones to navigate. It gives the court clear instructions and minimizes the potential for disputes among family members. 

It's also important to differentiate between a will and a trust. While a will becomes effective after your death and goes through probate, a trust can be created and go into effect during your lifetime. A trust allows for the management and distribution of assets both during your lifetime and after you're gone. We're here to help you understand these differences and decide which option best fits your needs. 

Creating a Will 

Drafting a will requires thoughtful consideration and careful planning. The first step is to take inventory of your assets, including real estate, vehicles, investments, personal belongings, and other property. Be as detailed as possible to give your executor a comprehensive understanding of your estate.  

Next, decide on your beneficiaries - the people or entities who will inherit your assets. These could be family members, friends, or organizations that you support. 

Once you've decided who gets what, you'll need to choose an executor - a person or institution that will carry out the instructions in your will. This role requires trust and responsibility, as the executor will manage your estate's distribution and handle any disputes that may arise. 

After these steps, you can start drafting the document. It's recommended to seek legal counsel to ensure that your will complies with your country or state's laws and entirely captures your wishes. Once your will is written, it needs to be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses, who also sign the document, attesting that they witnessed your signature. 

Please remember, it's essential to review and possibly update your will periodically, especially after major life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or acquisition of significant assets. With a well-crafted will, you can rest assured your wishes will be honored and your loved ones cared for when you're no longer around. 

When to Modify a Will 

Modifying your will is necessary to ensure it aligns with changes in your life and circumstances. Here are a few instances when you should consider updating your will: 

  • Changes in Relationships: Major life events, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child or grandchild, should prompt a will revision. You may want to add or remove beneficiaries based on these events. 

  • Acquisition or Disposal of Significant Assets: If you've recently acquired significant assets like real estate, investments, or a business, or if you've sold or disposed of such assets, your will should reflect these changes. 

  • Changes in Estate Law: Laws governing estate planning and wills can change over time. Regularly reviewing your will with a legal professional can help ensure its compliance with current laws. 

  • Death of a Beneficiary or Executor: If a named beneficiary or your appointed executor passes away, it's necessary to revise your will to reflect these changes. 

  • Changes in Personal Wishes or Priorities: Over time, you may want to alter the distribution of your assets, change the nominated guardians for your children, or support a new charity. These changes in personal wishes or priorities should be updated in your will. 

Remember, any changes made to your will must adhere to the legal requirements in your country or state to be considered valid. These typically include being of sound mind at the time of the modification, signing the updated will in the presence of at least two witnesses, and having those witnesses also sign the document. Always consult with a legal professional when making changes to your will to ensure its validity. 

Wills Attorneys in Upper Marlboro, Maryland

The future may be unpredictable, but your estate doesn't have to be. If you need a will or have concerns regarding estate planning, we're here to help. We're a team of experienced wills attorneys based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with a deep understanding of estate planning laws. We provide personalized guidance to ensure your wishes are protected. Don't leave your future and the well-being of your loved ones to chance. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing your legacy. Remember, we're not just any law firm — we're Sanders & Sanders, Attorneys at Law, committed to putting your family first.