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Planning out estate administration may be difficult for spouses

Planning for how your assets will be treated after you pass away is an understandably tricky proposition. That is, it is not always easy to determine how they should be divided among those left behind, which may include a spouse, children, parents and other family members. For married Maryland residents, another wrinkle may be added when it comes to making plans for estate administration.

An article that recently appeared on Forbes' online website expounded on the issue. In one of the examples mentioned, a married couple in their mid-50s could not reach an agreement about who should be in charge of their living trusts. The husband argued that it should be their oldest son, while the wife said that it should instead be their youngest daughter. Ultimately, they were unable to reach an agreement and even sought a divorce, forcing both to start over with their estate planning.

Their argument demonstrates one of the potential problems that might arise when married couples do their estate planning together. On the other hand, it can also bring them closer together. In another matter, a couple could not agree on how the estate should be divided amongst the children. Together they shared two kids, but the husband also had another two children from a previous marriage. In the end, they managed to devise a solution that took into account the husband's desire to look after all four of his children and the wife's desire to look after her own children.

For married couples in Maryland and elsewhere, estate planning may involve making compromises. In some cases, each spouse may wish to retain their own attorney in order to ensure that their interests are represented during the estate planning process. Yet, however difficult it may be, taking the time to do estate planning will make the estate administration substantially easier and less costly for those who inherit the estate.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning For Couples: Should It Be A Solo Or A Duet?," Deborah L. Jacobs, April 10, 2012

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