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Estate plan mistakes can make probate administration more complex

Maryland residents can look to celebrities as examples when it comes to how they would like to carry out certain aspects of their lives. While this type of admiration and inspiration is not necessarily a negative idea, individuals may want to remember what they consider important in their own lives. This idea may be especially useful when it comes to creating an estate plan for eventual probate administration.

When it comes to celebrity estate planning, most information in the news relates to mistakes that certain celebrities have made and how those mistakes have impacted their surviving family. Over the course of numerous years, wealthy celebrities have either not planned enough, failed to update plans or attempted to create plans on their own that simply did not cover necessary estate aspects. Any of these oversights could have substantial impacts.

Are you prepared for possible setbacks in probate administration?

When a family member discussed the idea of your becoming his or her estate executor, you may have felt honored by his or her trust in your abilities. After accepting the position, you may not have thought about the situation often but rather regarded it as a responsibility that would present itself sometime in the distant future. However, now that your loved one has passed, you must face your responsibilities as his or her personal representative.

You may wish to understand that administering the deceased person's estate may not come easy. Certain roadblocks could present themselves that result in the probate process taking more time than anticipated, and you may wonder how you will handle all the necessary tasks.

How can an estate plan help avoid probate?

Starting to think about estate planning may seem intimidating to many Maryland residents. Because there are many aspects of life to consider as well as the variety of planning tools that could potentially be utilized, it is understandable that some parties may be hesitant when it comes to making an estate plan of their own. However, having the right information could assuage some of those hesitations. 

For instance, a common misconception exists that individuals can avoid probate by simply creating a will. Though this document does have many uses, it does not allow an estate to skip the probate process. Heirs to an estate will need to go through the proper court proceedings in order to receive their inheritances and to ensure the validity of the will. 

Living will may benefit any Maryland resident

Without having any close family, many Maryland residents may have felt a sense of freedom. They likely enjoyed the idea that they held no familial obligations and could handle their lives as they pleased. However, at some point, they may begin to wonder what will happen to them in the event that they suffer a serious illness or injury. Luckily, creating a living will can help.

Even without close family, appointing a power of attorney agent and detailing health care wishes can prove beneficial. By taking these steps, a person can ensure that his or her care is properly attended to by a trusted individual named as the health care agent. This agent does not have to be a family member; therefore, even those without familial ties can benefit from appointing a trusted person. 

An estate plan may help Maryland business owners name successors

Having a business can be a complex endeavor. However, the majority of successful Maryland business owners likely feel that their companies have allowed them to live the lives they desired and that the hard work necessary to achieve success is well worth the effort. They likely also know that one day they will no longer be able to lead their businesses, and they may wish to use an estate plan to address concerns.

Estate planning can come in handy when determining who will take over a business, as company owners can include a business succession plan. Individuals can utilize their wills to bequeath business assets and further bolster their wishes by having a succession plan indicating who should take over when the time comes. Because an incapacitating event could occur unexpectedly, planning early may prove beneficial.

Does a trust need a see-through provision?

For Maryland residents looking to complete their estate plans, finding the best tools for their needs is often a main goal. Utilizing a trust is a route that many individuals take, and this planning tool can offer many benefits. However, it is important that parties use their trusts correctly because issues could arise from mistakes. 

One aspect that trust makers may want to consider involves any tax implications. If individuals do not utilize a see-through provision on their trusts, especially in cases where the trust acts as a beneficiary to a retirement account, substantial taxes could be applied. The reason for the potential tax issue is that trusts are taxed differently and often at a higher rate than retirement accounts themselves.

Lack of plan may complicate Maryland estate administration

When individuals die without an estate plan, this issue can cause many complications for an estate. In some cases, there may not be any close surviving family to immediately take over the estate administration, and as a result, a court-appointed party may take on that duty. Though that individual must attend to the estate, there may be some surviving family who could have a stake in an inheritance.

Maryland residents may be interested in one out-of-state man whose job it is to hunt down relatives for people who have died intestate. This probate researcher typically works with estates that have a considerable amount of money attached to them and no beneficiaries to claim that money. As part of his duties, he researches in hopes of finding an eligible heir.

New parent? You may have new needs for an estate plan

Having a child can bring a sense of joy to your life that no other event can. This new life may have you looking at the world and your life in a completely different way, and concerns you may not have had before may begin to feel important. Indeed, with your child's life just beginning, you may begin to think about the possibility of your death and how your child would fare after such an event.

For new parents, estate planning can offer a great sense of security and comfort. Because you undoubtedly want your child to receive the proper care, attention, love and support that you yourself would provide, creating an estate plan can allow you to ensure that those actions get carried out as you would hope.

Beneficiaries, trust options may help avoid Maryland probate

If the goal of an estate plan is to avoid probate, Maryland residents have a chance to successfully reach this goal. By utilizing the proper planning tools, individuals can allocate their assets in order to eliminate the need for probate. Two main ways that parties can keep property out of this particular court process are by creating a trust and designating beneficiaries.

Trusts can provide useful options for people looking to protect assets and their family members' inheritances. A trustmaker can transfer assets into the trust, and because that property is removed from the estate and is controlled by the trustee, it does not need to go through probate. Of course, this option could have various financial repercussions, so interested parties may wish to ensure that they gather useful information on possible impacts.

Confusion over probate may affect misinformed Maryland residents

Understanding the necessary actions that surviving family or appointed executors must carry out for a deceased loved one's estate can be complicated. Confusion can also come about if the decedent did not fully understand what his or her plans actually needed in order to be carried out. For instance, some Maryland residents may not realize that probate is necessary in order for a family to act on a will.

Though the will may have been specifically detailed with various instructions, those instructions could have no standing if the will does not go through the probate process. The court must validate the will in order for an executor to have the authority to perform the duties needed to close the estate. This aspect of the process may come as a surprise to individuals who may have been misinformed.