A will is a powerful estate planning document in Maryland that lets you determine what happens to your assets and property after you die. You can use a will to name an executor, who will be in charge of carrying out your wishes, and beneficiaries, who will receive your assets. While the law doesn’t require you to have a will in Maryland, it is important as it can save your loved ones time and money in the long run. If you do choose to create one, there are certain legalities that you need to address, like having it notarized, to make it valid.
Understanding will notarization
Notarizing a will in Maryland simply means that you are swearing, in front of a notary public, that the document is indeed your last will and testament. The notary does not need to know the contents of your will – they are simply witnessing your signature.
The benefits of notarizing your will
Having the notary public witness your signature provides some legal protection for your will. If there are ever any questions about the validity of your will, the notation by the notary public can help to prove that it is certainly your authentic signature on the document. In addition, having a will notarized can also help to deter fraud. If someone were to try to forge your signature on a will, it would be much more difficult to do so if you notarized it.
Must you notarize your will in Maryland?
Although it is an essential estate planning step, Maryland law doesn’t require you to notarize your will for it to be valid or legal. However, you will need to make your will “self-proving.” This means that you and your witnesses will need to sign an affidavit in front of a notary public. The affidavit affirms that you are of sound mind, 18 years or older, and you signed the will willingly without anyone’s coercion.
There are certain circumstances that can make it difficult to notarize a will, for instance, if you are too sick to sign your last will and document or if the notary public isn’t available at the last minute when you just made an update to your will. However, preparing your estate plans early enough can help avoid this unique legal situation for you and your loved ones.