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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.

Maryland residents may wish to address possible estate plan holes

It is not unusual for Maryland residents to get married more than once in their lifetimes. If these marriages come later in life, there will likely be many topics that need to be addressed when it comes to finances and property. As a result, individuals may wish to revisit the documents in their estate plan to ensure that their life changes are reflected in those documents. 

Because many individuals have children from previous marriages, they often want to protect the inheritances of those children. However, if individuals wish to leave all of their assets to their children from a previous marriage, they may face complications. Spouses are rarely disinherited from estate benefits, and as a result, state laws could potentially override a will in order for at least some assets to go to the current spouse. If individuals are concerned with such a loophole, they may wish to ensure that their estate documents are properly worded to avoid potential conflict. 

Safeguarding against will disputes may help Maryland residents

Maryland residents who face family conflicts may worry about the potential issues that could arise after their deaths. It is not uncommon for a will to be contested, and some individuals may wish to take such action if they believe the contents of a will do not reflect the true intentions of the deceased. However, some individuals may wish to dispute the document simply because they do not feel they were bequeathed the items they desired.

If individuals worry about unnecessary legal conflicts after their deaths, they may wish to consider the potential safeguards they could place on their wills. A "no-contest" clause could be added to the document in order to make it more difficult for individuals to unjustly file a dispute. The clause could make penalties applicable for those wishing to cause conflict.

Probate concerns may cause Maryland residents to seek assistance

When a loved one passes away, some individuals may have issues to handle regarding the estate. Probate proceedings are common in cases where a will was left behind, but additional litigation may ensue if there are concerns about the estate. Maryland residents may be interested in such a situation currently taking place in another state.

Reports indicated that an assistant judge is currently on leave from his position and is facing litigation in connection with the estate of a woman he and his wife cared for. Apparently, the man and his wife took the woman into their home after her Alzheimer's disease progressed. After that occurred, the woman's will was updated to include designations for the couple. The man claims that the woman was his aunt, but other relatives of the woman are contesting that statement. 

Naming power of attorney agents may be beneficial in Maryland

When Maryland residents are creating their estate plans, they may wonder how their affairs will be taken care of in the event of their incapacitation. Luckily, there are steps that individuals can take to appoint power of attorney agents. These individuals will be in charge of making applicable decisions if the appointing parties become unable to make decisions for themselves. 

First of all, individuals of any age could benefit from creating a power of attorney document. When considering who to appoint as an agent, individuals may wish to choose carefully and wisely. There have been instances in which such documents have been used to exploit individuals or take other fraudulent actions. Therefore, naming a highly trusted and responsible party who would handle the obligations with respect may be prudent.