Once an estate plan is established, the individual planning may only have the concern of how the plan will be managed in the event of their incapacitation or death. The process of estate administration in Maryland can be challenging, especially in today's world of blended and unconventional families. A recent report indicates that an increasing number of people planning their estate are looking toward the "spiritual" side of things and are planning their estate based more on values.
Aside from leaving inheritance's to charity, which is up 19 percent, more individuals are considering whether they have passed their values to their heirs. One source calls it "ʻleaving money with a purpose.'" Individuals may want to consider their values and what has been passed on to their heirs before deciding how their assets should be divided.
There is a thought that more individuals are planning their estate and listing heirs based on their individual situation, rather than just cutting each heir an equal chunk. Parents may choose to leave more to an heir with a special needs child and less to an heir who is considered well off. Some believe that equality is best in order to avoid family tension, but understand that every situation is different. These sources recommend that families simply take the time to discuss any difference in inheritances so that everyone can be on the same page.
During the estate administration process, Maryland families may find the results surprising. Unless communication is key, anger and resentment can ensue, and families may become embroiled in the probate process. Maryland residents who are estate planning may benefit from understanding that their family may require an individualized plan that will protect everyone, as well as the planners assets. Whether or not the family agrees with the values and decisions made by the planner, an estate plan will ensure that the planner's wishes are known and kept.
Source: SunSentinel.com, "'Spiritual' estate planning passes on values of departed," Donna Gehrke-White, Nov. 11, 2012