Jump to Navigation

What can an estate plan do for you?

At some point in your life, you have likely lost a loved one and felt the grief that comes along with death. You may have even witnessed other family members struggling to make funeral arrangements or ensuring that they handle property division in a way the deceased would want. These difficulties can affect anyone who suffers such a loss, and if you would like to help your family avoid making uncertain decisions, you may want to create an estate plan to address a variety of end-of-life topics.

Disputes may put estate administration on hold in Maryland

When individuals die without creating an estate plan, it is not unusual for surviving family members to face conflicts. There are cases in which estate disputes could have many repercussions, and estate administration could be put on hold while the issues are addressed. Maryland residents may be interested in one such case currently taking place out-of-state.

Reports indicated that two sisters are currently at odds over their deceased sister's estate. Though the late woman had reportedly been ill for some time, she apparently did not create an estate plan. The report indicated that her estate is worth a conservative estimate of $550,000. Due to the lack of instructions pertaining to handling the estate, the surviving sisters are going through probate litigation in order to determine who should control the estate.

Maryland residents may be concerned with probate proceedings

Losing a loved one can be an extremely difficult time in anyone's life. If Maryland residents must handle the estate of a deceased family member, they may wonder what steps they need to take in order to ensure that the probate process is addressed in the correct manner. There are numerous actions that may need to be carried out, and as a result, individuals may wish to seek assistance. 

One of the first steps to take is assessing the decedent's assets. If any of those assets were jointly owned, the property will pass to the co-owner of the property. If property was held in only the name of the deceased, there may need to be a determination as to whether the assets had a beneficiary designation. If so, the beneficiary named will likely obtain the property. 

DIY estate plan documents not best choice for Maryland residents

Many Maryland residents thinking about estate planning may think they can handle the process on their own. However, creating an estate plan can, at times, be complicated, and there may be facets that could be easily overlooked without the proper professional help. As a result, surviving loved ones may face issues when it comes to attending to the estate.

If individuals try to create a will online or by other means on their own, they run the risk of the document not being properly made nor correctly carried out by the executor of the will. As a result, the will could be considered invalid. Additionally, the wording of a will can play a major role in how the document is interpreted, and if the language a unclear, conflicts may arise. Probate litigation could be a potential outcome when there is uncertainty surrounding a will.

A Maryland resident may not want to avoid creating an estate plan

End-of-life decisions may be something that makes many individuals cringe. Confronting mortality can be a hefty task, and some Maryland residents may choose to believe that planning for death is not necessary. However, an estate plan is an essential tool for an individual who hopes that his or her children will be taken cared for and that his or her assets and wishes will be properly handled after death. 

It was recently reported that approximately 56 percent of Americans have not created estate plans or do not have updated plans. It is not unusual for individuals of lower income levels to believe that these plans are only necessary for parties with substantial assets to consider. On the contrary, creating wills and other documents could potentially benefit individuals at all income levels, especially those with children, as a will can designate guardians for those children. 

4 things to put in your will

Many people put off making a will, thinking that there is always time, and many of them end up dying without a will. However, creating a comprehensive will can save a lot of time, hassle and money. Wills are not just about assigning your financial assets. Your will is also the instrument for communicating several important decisions.

Decisions for a Maryland estate plan require careful discussion

When making estate planning decisions, many Maryland residents may wish to consider how their families will be affected by those determinations. Because an estate plan addresses more than just who will be left property, individuals may want to assess their family dynamics in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts. An attorney is typically able to help insure that the terms of an estate plan fit the desires of the client.

During the planning process, individuals typically name an executor or successor to their estate. This is a common step that many people undertake in order to avoid having the probate court name an individual. However, this position involves considerable responsibilities and interaction with family members, and therefore, it may be prudent to consider how the executor gets along with other family members. 

Keeping a will updated may be prudent for Maryland residents

Many Maryland residents may have already taken steps to create their estate plans. Creating a will is an action that many individuals find beneficial, but they may also want to ensure that they keep such documents updated. Without necessary changes, there is a chance that the document could be contested, and surviving individuals may face litigation relating to the estate. 

If individuals are looking to update their wills, there are different ways they could go about doing so. One option is to start from scratch and create a new will with the changes included. Another avenue is to create a codicil, or a witnessed change to an existing will. However, there is some caution warned for utilizing codicils because they could potentially be contested, especially if family members believe the changes were coerced. 

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.