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The estate planning process in Maryland can be complex. In other situations, it may be relatively simple. Either way, it is essential for people to review their intentions and have the right estate plan documents prepared in order to make sure that these wishes are followed at their deaths.

One of the biggest estate planning mistakes is simply failing to create a plan in the first place. Most Americans lack a last will and testament. This means these individuals' estates will have to be divided in accordance with their states' intestacy laws, and no guarantee exists that the outcomes will be consistent with their wishes.

According to a portability law that was recently passed, a federal estate tax exemption of more than $5 million is being granted to every individual in 2015. In addition, if a spouse passes away and has not used up this exemption, the portion that was unused may be transferred to his or her surviving spouse. This law is designed to help to ease a little of the burden associated with estate tax planning.

Having an estate plan is beneficial for many reasons; for instance, estate planning can help with reducing estate taxes, saving on administrative costs related to the estate and specifying how assets should be distributed to heirs or charities. An estate plan can even provide instructions for distributing assets to help a loved one with special needs. Wills are also necessary to name guardians for minor children. Proper legal guidance may help people to effectively cover all of these areas through well-thought-out estate planning in Maryland.

Source: wmur.com, "Money Matters: Common estate planning mistakes", Marc Hebert, Dec. 10, 2015

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