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If the goal of an estate plan is to avoid probate, Maryland residents have a chance to successfully reach this goal. By utilizing the proper planning tools, individuals can allocate their assets in order to eliminate the need for probate. Two main ways that parties can keep property out of this particular court process are by creating a trust and designating beneficiaries.

Trusts can provide useful options for people looking to protect assets and their family members' inheritances. A trustmaker can transfer assets into the trust, and because that property is removed from the estate and is controlled by the trustee, it does not need to go through probate. Of course, this option could have various financial repercussions, so interested parties may wish to ensure that they gather useful information on possible impacts.

When it comes to naming beneficiaries, property owners and account holders can appoint loved ones to directly inherit assets. Retirement accounts, insurance policies and bank accounts can all have beneficiary designations. However, parties need to ensure that they keep their designations updated, because complications can arise if a beneficiary precedes the account holder in death and the designation goes unchanged.

Though probate is not necessarily a negative process, many people want their families to avoid the time and expenses associated with it. Because each estate is different, the types of tools utilized to avoid probate may also differ from person to person. Therefore, interested Maryland residents may wish to find out more on trust options, beneficiaries and other related estate planning routes that could help them achieve their planning goals.

Source: commonsnews.org, "Keeping your estate out of court", Amelia W.L. Darrow, May 10, 2017

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