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The holidays are a time for rejoicing and happiness for most families. However, the holidays are also a time for tying up loose ends in order to prepare for the coming new year in Maryland or any other state. Although thoughts about one's own death do not exactly bring holiday cheer, planning for estate administration is something that should not be ignored. If one has not done so already, creating an estate plan should be on one's list of New Year's resolutions.

There are various reasons to not procrastinate in designing an estate plan. First, having an estate plan in place can prevent loved ones from experiencing unnecessary hardship in the case of one's unexpected departure. If one does not have at least a basic will in place, administering a person's estate will be decided in probate court. In this case, there is a risk of intended beneficiaries missing out on receiving assets from one's estate.

Avoiding the probate process will not only help ensure that heirs receive intended assets; it will also save significant money. The probate process entails various court fees and legal expenses. These expenses can be significantly more in the case of a contentious court battle over who should inherit assets. However, a thorough estate plan can help avoid the need for probate court.

Exactly how to design one's estate administration plans will require an analysis of one's individual circumstances. Every individual in Maryland is different and will have varying estate planning goals. Therefore, a customized estate plan should be utilized over a generic template version.

Source: theindychannel.com, "3 reasons to include estate planning in New Year's resolutions", Eric Pfahler, Dec. 5, 2014

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