There are two basic types of Wills; formal (witnessed by two people for Maryland) and holographic. The formal requirements of a Will in Maryland are that it must be signed by the testator/testatrix , who is of sound mind, in the presence of two witnesses who are competent. The two witnesses must then sign before each other. An attestation clause, although not required in Maryland, can be helpful in proving genuineness.
A holographic Will is defined as a Will, written entirely in the testator/testatrix’s handwriting and is not witnessed. However, a handwritten Will is legal in Maryland if it is witnessed in the presence of the testator by two credible witnesses. Maryland refuses to recognize unwitnessed holographic Wills; however, if the Will was executed in a state where holographic Wills are valid, then the Maryland Probate Court may admit the Will.
Clients will often attempt to cross out or change their Will on their own to avoid the expense of a updating their will with an attorney. This can have unintended consequences because it can invalidate the entire Will. A Will can be amended by executing a new Will, revoking the prior Will, preparing a Codicil, which amends or revokes certain parts of your Will and must be executed formally in the same manner as a Will, i.e. requiring two witnesses.
Saving money by not seeking legal counsel to prepare or amend a Will can cost you or your family more in the end.
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