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Estate planning can be a complicated process, which is one of the reasons why people often try to avoid completing it. However, an estate plan is essential for communicating one's wishes concerning how one's assets will be distributed. One of the most common mistakes made during estate planning in Maryland involves beneficiary designations.

People sometimes forget to designate the individuals who will get control of different assets after they die. For this reason, it is common to find people who still have their ex-spouses named as the ones to gain control of their assets. Changing beneficiaries is a relatively straightforward process as it simply involves completing a form.

When naming beneficiaries, it is wise for people to discuss their choices with their loved ones. This is because surprises can breed hurt feelings or could even breed litigation. Beneficiaries listed on accounts such as retirement accounts, as well as the people who are named in a will as the heirs to receive certain properties or assets, should ideally be informed of this early on.

Estate planning is a valuable tool for people at all income levels who have certain assets they want to pass down to their loved ones. Creating an estate plan is also vital no matter how old or young a person is in Maryland. Through a comprehensive estate plan, a person can posthumously control how his or her belongings are distributed and ensure that his or her surviving family members, especially children, are cared for when the individual passes unexpectedly.

Source: thestreet.com, "How to Avoid the Most Common Estate Planning Mistake", Scott Gamm, Oct. 31, 2015

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