Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Signatures on a Will

Question: My father’s Will is six pages in length. He signed on page 5, but the witnesses signed on page 6. Does the fact that there is a page separating my father’s signature with the signatures of the witnesses invalidate the Will?

Answer: No, an otherwise valid Will is not invalid merely because the witnesses sign it on a different page than the person making the Will and the pages were not physically connected at the time of signing. Moreover, a particular form of attestation clause is not required to allow a presumption of proper execution of the Will.

In Maryland, the statutory requirements of a valid, executed Will are: The Will shall be (1) in writing, (2) signed by the testator, or by some other person for him, in his presence and by his express direction, and (3) attested and signed by two or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator.

There is no particular requirement stating where a Will has to be attested and subscribed by the witnesses (for example forbidding separate pages or directing the manner in which the pages were to be connected).

Comment: In a recent Maryland case on the issue, the court was unwilling to impose formalities ‘beyond those specifically required by statute.’

 

 

As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at sshane@offitkurman.com or 301.575.0313.

ABOUT STEVE SHANE

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sshane@offitkurman.com | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.

 

ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN

Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 140 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eleven offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.

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