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Spouses should have full knowledge of estate administration plans

Many people neglect creating an estate plan, which can result in serious problems later on after one's death. However, even those who have created an estate plan may still have neglected some important aspects of estate administration which could make a significant difference in Maryland or in any other state. In some cases, individuals will fail to properly prepare their spouses with the necessary information regarding what to do in the case of their unexpected departure from this world.

It is important to be sure that both spouses are familiar with the family's financial adviser. The spouse that usually handles the family finances will often neglect to even introduce the other spouse to the family's financial adviser; or the financial adviser may have only interacted with the other spouse for a few minutes in order to sign some documents. Therefore, in order to avoid having a spouse rely on someone he or she barely knows during an emotionally challenging time, one should likely consider spending the time to make sure one's spouse is familiar with the family's financial adviser.

Along with being personally familiar with the family's financial adviser, one's spouse should also know where all financial accounts are being held. This is important since a surviving spouse will probably be in charge of paying for funeral expenses and other costs related to the other spouse's death. Also, there may be some medical bills due by that time, so explaining to the other spouse how to access the family's financial accounts before something unexpected happens can be essential.

On the other hand, it is also important to ensure that legal documents in one's estate plan are correctly drafted. The proper legal language may prevent the estate plan from being challenged in probate court during the estate administration process in Maryland. This can also help save one's intended heirs from unnecessary headache and costs.

Source: Daily Finance, "3 Important Estate Planning Questions", Scott Holsopple, May 2, 2014

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