Jump to Navigation

Keeping mum: Should you disclose you terminal illness to your family?

Gene Wilder. Robin Williams. David Bowie. As public as their lives were there was one salient piece of information they chose to keep private: Their terminal disease.

One can understand their choice--after living their lives on the covers of magazines and newspapers, didn't they have the right to die without their illnesses being available for public consumption? But is it a choice that we "civilians," as a whole, should follow?

Maryland residents may have estate administration concerns

After a loved one passes away, family members may still have responsibilities to that individual's estate. Some of those duties may be related to ensuring that the deceased's estate is being handled in the proper manner. If individuals suspect that the executor of an estate is not fulfilling his or her duties, legal action relating to the estate administration may be necessary.

Maryland residents may be interested in a similar situation taking place in another state. Reports indicated that the granddaughter of a deceased man was concerned that her uncle -- and the executor of the estate -- was misusing the estate. Apparently, the uncle had taken out a $300,000 loan from the deceased before his death, and after his father's passing, the man reportedly wants to have the loan forgiven. 

Maryland residents may worry about creating an estate plan

There are many factors to consider when estate planning, and as a result, some Maryland residents may seem intimidated by the process. Not only will individuals be faced with the prospect of their eventual demise, but numerous aspects will need to be considered and address in order to move forward. Luckily, legal assistance could allow individuals to better understand the process and feel more comfortable with creating an estate plan. 

One of the first major topics to address when estate planning is family relationships. Individuals who have strong family ties with their children, siblings, parents and other relatives will likely want to leave certain items to those family members. Through the planning process, individuals can determine what specific assets they may wish to bequeath and to whom those assets should go. Additionally, if there are any negative relationships, it may be helpful to address those in order to plan for the possibility that a will could be contested if an individual feels slighted. 

Unfair estate administration actions could have negative effects

After loved ones die, family members are often put in charge of the remaining estate. The estate administration can play a significant role in the lives of the surviving family members and other individuals who may be affected by the terms of any estate plans. Maryland residents may be interested in a case that was recently reported on that involved estate issues among siblings.

The report indicated that after their parents deaths, two brothers were co-executors and co-trustees of the estates and trusts. However, as time went on, it was discovered by other siblings that the brothers were misusing their positions. The brothers would reportedly only share certain information with their sisters, which resulted in the sisters being considerably out of the know when it came to the running of their parents' estates. 

Special needs trust info may assist Maryland residents

Some Maryland parents may have children with disabilities. Though these parents undoubtedly love their children immensely, this love may also lead to serious concerns about how their children will be cared for after their parents' passing. Luckily, individuals may be able to address such concerns as they work on their estate plans. Setting up a special needs trust could prove considerably beneficial.

In many cases, special needs individuals rely on disability income, and a sudden influx of extra money -- such as from an inheritance -- could potentially lead those individuals to be disqualified from obtaining that income. Therefore, many parents likely want to avoid possibly causing issues with their children's income while also providing them with an inheritance. In these cases, information on special needs trusts could help.

Double duty: Why a will and a power of attorney are necessary

A young couple recently agreed to buy a house from her grandmother. Negotiations were made, a contract was signed and closing was set. On the eve of closing, grandma died. The closing has yet to go through.

Most of us are often aware of a will and what it does-at least we generally have some idea. But many people might wonder what a power of attorney is, how it works and why it is necessary to have one alongside a valid will.

Unclear ownership could affect estate plan terms in Maryland

Many Maryland residents may create plans for their estates with certain ideas in mind. However, if those individuals get married more than once, there is a chance that the estate plan could be affected by those marriages. In some cases, remarriage could cause issues to arise between a surviving spouse and other loved ones when it comes to determining who is entitled to certain personal property.

Making designations in a will or other estate planning document can be immensely helpful. However, if there is no specific documentation as to who owns certain assets, there is a chance that a surviving spouse may try to take ownership out from under children from a previous marriage. For instance, if a will designates that the deceased's children are supposed to inherit a certain item like a necklace or table, a spouse could attempt to claim such an item as his or her own. 

Maryland residents may face guardianship, conservatorship issues

Many older individuals often face incapacitation that leaves them unable to care for themselves and their affairs. As a result, an individual or entity may be appointed guardian in order to care for the unable person. Guardianship is a substantial responsibility, and the appointed individual may face issues when it comes to keeping up with a conservatorship or other estate-related area.

Maryland residents may be interested in such a situation currently surrounding the conservatorship of Zsa Zsa Gabor. The famed actress is currently 99 years old, and her husband has been taking care of her since 2001. He was named conservator to her estate in 2015. Reports stated that he receives $19,000 a month to take care of conservatorship expenses. However, the money comes from an escrow account attached to the couple's home, which was sold in 2013. 

Assistance may be useful during power of attorney appointments

Taking the time to address the potential physical and mental problems that could befall an individual in life could be a smart move to make. If a Maryland resident wants to prepare for the possibility of incapacitation, creating the applicable power of attorney documents may be a good place to start. Depending on the circumstances, different type of documents may be needed. 

If an individual wishes to make a power of attorney appointment, that person is known as the principal. The person being appointed is known as the agent. The principal can appoint a financial agent and/or health care agent. If the individual wants an agent to only have decision-making capabilities when it comes to financial matters, there is a power of attorney document for that appointment. A separate document is needed for a separate health care agent, but one agent could be appointed to handle both areas.

Probate litigation over Redstone estate proves complicated

Maryland residents may be interested in a complicated case involving the estate of billionaire media mogul Sumner Redstone. Reports stated that the man's granddaughter had expressed concerns about whether Redstone had truly been in support of changes made to two of his trusts. The woman believes that her aunt -- Redstone's daughter -- forced him to make changes. As part of the probate litigation, the granddaughter would like a mental and physical examination of her 93-year-old grandfather as well as a deposition. 

In addition to his granddaughter's claims, Redstone's ex-girlfriend also feels that there are issues concerning her role in the estate. She was reportedly ejected as Redstone's health care agent, which apparently resulted in her losing out on $50 million as well as the man's $20 million home. However, it was reported that the woman turned down a $30 million settlement that had been offered and that her first round of court earlier this year to contest her ejection had been unsuccessful.