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Estate planning in Maryland is essential for making sure that one's assets end up in the hands of the proper individuals when one passes. The process of creating an estate plan, however, can understandably be confusing and overwhelming. This is particularly true for those in blended families, where one or both spouses may have been married to other people in the past.

An important consideration for people who have been married more than once is what to do about kids from prior marriages. If one person dies, there is a chance that his or her current spouse will not choose to provide for his or her kids from previous marriages. In this situation, it may be helpful for an individual to make his or her child a life insurance policy's primary beneficiary. The person may also simply wish to establish a trust for a kid or create joint real property ownership with the child.

It is also wise for people going through the estate planning process to ensure that their investment accounts, retirement plans and insurance policies have up-to-date beneficiary designations. A divorce might actually prevent a person from changing a beneficiary in particular cases, so if someone has gotten divorced, he or she may benefit from checking with a lawyer about whether revising a beneficiary designation would violate his or her divorce decree. Those who legally cannot change their beneficiaries on their existing life insurance policies can simply open new policies that consider their new spouses.

Irrevocable trusts can also come in handy to pass down assets to certain children. Trust agreements offer the benefit of being private mechanisms, while wills are public documents. Appropriate legal guidance in Maryland may help people to determine the best vehicles to use and steps to take when developing an estate plan.

Source: capegazette.com, "Estate Planning After a Second Marriage Special considerations for a complex situation", Oct. 21, 2015

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