After one’s death, his or her estate must be administered for the benefit of its rightful heirs. If one has done proper estate planning, this job could be quite simple. However even with the right estate planning documents estate administration could still be a challenge if nobody knows where the estate planning documents as well as financial and personal information are located. Unfortunately, organization is one of the most important — yet most commonly neglected — aspects of planning an estate in Maryland or elsewhere.
Even with an executor, if one does not leave information regarding the location of personal and financial documents, it will make an executor’s job more challenging. The executor will have to rummage through the person’s home in order to look for documents with the information needed to administer the decedent’s estate. Also, with the advent of technology, people are storing more information online, which can create another challenge without passwords for online accounts.
Probably the most important document one should make sure to leave easily accessible for one’s loved ones is a will, which will provide instructions on how assets should be distributed. The location of bank accounts, retirement accounts, property deeds, tax returns and life insurance policies are also critical. Moreover, it is essential to leave computer passwords and passwords for online accounts such as emails.
Making essential documents and information accessible is just one aspect of preparing for estate administration in Maryland. It is also important to have an effective strategy for minimizing tax liability for the benefit of future heirs. This will require thorough knowledge of the most recent applicable laws. It is also important to periodically update estate plans should personal circumstances or estate change, which could affect potential estate tax liabilities.
Source: pressdemocrat.com, “Organizing is a key part of estate planning,” Robert Digitale, June 30, 2013