Why should I sign a Will in my lawyer’s office?
Once your attorney has finalized your Will for your signature, you might not feel compelled to take the time to sign the Will at your attorney’s office. Perhaps executing the Will seems self-explanatory to you. Perhaps your attorney’s office is not located in close proximity to your residence. Perhaps your occupation does not permit to you to visit your attorney’s office during business hours. Regardless, it is very important to sign your Will in the presence of your attorney for the following reasons.
First, disinterested witnesses will be present at your attorney’s office to observe the execution of your Will. A disinterested witness is an individual who is at least eighteen years old, is not related to you and is not included as a beneficiary under your Will. If you execute your Will at
home, it is much more likely that the only witnesses available will be family members who may be beneficiaries under your Will or individuals who might have legal claims to your estate. In the event that your Will is not witnessed by disinterested individuals, your estate runs the risk of
a claim of undue influence by a person challenging your Will.
Second, your attorney and the disinterested witnesses act as third parties to the signing, who can testify truthfully to the execution of your Will and your mental capacity at the time of the signing. The witnesses to the execution of your Will become very important in the event that there is a challenge to the validity of your Will after your death.
Third, the Maryland Code has certain requirements for the number of witnesses to your Will. If you do not have the proper number of witnesses, your Will may be deemed invalid.
Fourth, if you had a Will prior to the one most recently drafted, your attorney will make sure it is properly revoked.
Lastly, your attorney may offer to store your fully executed original Will in the firm’s vault for safekeeping. This provides you with assurance that your Will will not be misplaced or destroyed.
For more information about Wills and other estate planning documents, contact the Law Office of Jane Frankel Sims, LLC at (410) 828-7775.