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When most people think of estate planning, they think of distribution of assets to intended beneficiaries. Others in Maryland and elsewhere may think of avoiding unnecessary taxes. However, not only are financial issues important to consider when planning for estate administration, sometimes simply making the proper arrangements for a funeral can be complicated if one makes a mistake in estate plans. This is what happened to one man who had issues trying to bury is father in the cemetery.

After one man died in 2001, his adult son was left to administer his estate and fulfill his father's wishes expressed in his estate plan. Part of his father's wishes included being buried in a specific national cemetery. However, since the cemetery was specifically created to bury veterans, it required that the man provide specific documentation related to his military service.

The document the cemetery required is known as a DD 214 form; however, the man had never heard of this form. The cemetery told the man that if he was not able to locate the form, the cemetery would put his father's body in cold storage for a period of six months until his father's DD 214 was located. He then frantically searched for his father's DD 214 form and eventually found it inside of a book in which his father had been using the form as a bookmark.

After the man turned the form into the cemetery, he was able to bury his father as planned. However, there may be many times when a similar situation in Maryland will not end as well. This is why it is important to carefully scrutinize one's estate administration plans in order to identify any mistakes or holes in the estate planning strategy. Therefore, even if one already has an estate plan, it is a good idea to consistently update and review the plan to avoid future problems for beneficiaries.

Source: The New York Times, "There's More to Estate Planning Than the Will", Alina Tugend, Sept. 5, 2014

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