Death is an uneasy topic for many people. This is particularly true when thinking and speaking about one's own death in Maryland or in any other state. However, avoiding this topic when it comes to planning for estate administration can cause serious legal problems for intended beneficiaries. Therefore, it is best to not procrastinate on creating an estate plan.
It is important to involve one's family when making estate planning decisions. One should determine what the situation is for each intended beneficiary. This will allow a person to take into consideration the life goals of each beneficiary when deciding how to distribute estate assets. A person's estate planning strategies should aim to make the estate administration process as simple and easy as possible.
One aspect of estate planning that is commonly overlooked is making sure to update one's beneficiary designations on retirement accounts. Some of these accounts include IRAs, annuities, life insurance and various other financial accounts. It is also a good idea to update these accounts every few years in order to reflect any changed personal circumstances, such as a divorce, remarriage or even an adoption.
Lastly, understanding applicable inheritance laws for Maryland is essential to creating a stable estate administration strategy. Just because one has a will in place does not mean assets will automatically be distributed to beneficiaries as one has planned. Many times, wills are challenged in probate court. However, making estate-planning decisions with the applicable laws in mind will help to minimize the chances of this happening.
Source: Market Watch, "9 steps to getting your estate plan in order", Melody Juge, Nov. 3, 2014