Maryland will not recognize wills that are not signed by witnesses, also known as holographic wills, unless the will was written in a state that allows such wills. The writer of the will, legally known as the testator, must be at least 18 in Maryland, competent, and writing of his own free will. A legal, valid will is required for specific wishes; otherwise state law determines how an estate is divided between heirs.
Write “The Last Will and Testament of” at the top of the page. The name of the testator and the city and state in which he or she resides must be included.
List the names of the spouse and children and make note that they will “herein be referred to as my spouse and my children.”
Name the appointed personal representative who will handle the estate. Consider listing another representative who would serve should the first choice be unable or unwilling. When it is appropriate, instruct, in writing, that the personal representative will be paid reasonable wages for performing this duty.
Detail the wishes of the burial, should there be any. When it doesn’t matter, write that the details of the burial shall be left up to the family or a specific person.
Grant permission to the personal representative to pay bills, debts and taxes from the estate. This is not necessary in Maryland, but it will speed up any probate process. Should there be a mortgage left that a beneficiary should take over, state these types of details implicitly.
Direct actions for any personal items left. Be specific in what and to whom, as well as detailing who is bequeathed the rest of the estate.
List chosen guardians for any children under the age of 18. Give said guardian the same authority as a legal parent. Any wishes for benefits to be held in a trust should be listed as well.
Write a statement, referred to as an attestation clause, that states, “The witnesses confirm this will is valid and duly executed.” While not required by law, this clause takes away any chance for anyone to tell the court later that the will is not valid in the state of Maryland.
Sign the will in front of two competent witnesses then instruct them to sign as well.
Consider consulting a lawyer for legal specifics. Wills are not required to be reviewed by lawyers in Maryland, but the Maryland Register of Wills recommends seeking legal consultation.