Washington DC Wills Lawyer
The will is the foundational document of any estate plan. Regardless of how simple or complex a person’s estate becomes, the will typically remains an indispensable document for directing the distribution of a an estate through a trusted executor, ensuring the care of minor children, and leaving a lasting legacy to future generations. At Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing, our Washington DC wills lawyers focus on creating wills that act as an integral part of the estate plan with expert drafting to ensure they are valid and enforceable and accomplish the goals of the testator.
Maryland and DC Rules for Valid Wills
The statute of wills in Maryland and DC require that a will be in writing (in Washington DC an oral will is recognized in rare circumstances limited to military service members or mariners at sea). The person creating the will, known as the testator, must be at least 18 years old and legally competent (of sound mind) to make a will. The will must be signed by the testator or signed by another person in the presence of the testator and at the testator’s direction. The signing of the will must also be attested by at least two credible witnesses, who also sign the will in the testator’s presence. Holographic wills – wills which are written entirely in the testator’s handwriting – may be accepted if they otherwise meet the legal requirements for a valid will.
Questions regarding the validity of a will that can give rise to probate litigation often surround the capacity and state of mind of the testator at the time the will was made, or the credibility of witnesses who may also be beneficiaries of the will. Our attorneys oversee the drafting of the will as well as its execution to ensure all legal requirements are clearly met, in the event a will is later challenged or contested.
Living Wills are another type of Testamentary Document
A living will is not the same thing as a will which directs the distribution of assets or the disposition of an estate. A living will is an advance directive that allows you to name a health care agent to act for you, or for you to state your preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment at the end of life or in the face of a terminal illness. Living wills may contain Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders or Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). Like a will, a living will must also be properly witnessed to be valid.
Our Washington DC estate planning attorneys take the time to sit down with you and discuss your wishes regarding advance directives in a compassionate yet thorough manner. Living wills take the burden off of your family to make difficult decisions during emotional times, and help ensure that your wishes will be followed in this important area.
Assisting Heirs, Executors and Personal Representatives
Our comprehensive assistance extends beyond advising and assisting the testator in the creation of a will. Our knowledgeable Washington DC estate planning attorneys advise and represent heirs, executors and personal representatives dealing with all manner of questions or legal issues surrounding a will. Our lawyers can help in the following ways, among others:
- Open the estate and obtain letters of administration
- Obtain the death certificate
- Transfer a property deed into your name
- Assist with probate and estate administration
- Act as agent for an out-of-state personal representative
Knowledgeable and Experienced Washington DC Wills Lawyers
For help drafting or reviewing a will, living will or other testamentary document in Washington DC or Montgomery County Maryland, including Chevy Chase and Bethesda, contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing at 202-362-5900 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled and knowledgeable Washington DC wills lawyers.