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Probate proceedings could affect estate planning in Maryland

When deciding which estate planning options may work for certain circumstances, Maryland residents may not be sure which avenues may be best for them. For instance, some parties may think that a will is the only document they need for their estate. However, if they want their families to avoid probate, they may wish to look into further options.

Wills are useful tools when it comes to estate planning, but a will is subject to probate legal proceedings. During these proceedings, certain parties may contest the will or take other actions that could lead to potential complications. As a result, surviving family members may face litigation for some time before the estate is settled. Additionally, wills are made public, and any interested parties could access the documents. 

If individuals would like more privacy and to potentially keep their families out of litigation, they may want to consider other options as well. Parties may wish to create trusts in order to have assets transferred directly to named recipients in the event of a death. Trusts are private and not subject to probate proceedings. 

Whether an individual opts for just having a will or also wants to take further estate planning steps, it is important that some legal document is in place. If arrangements are not made, surviving families may face serious complications when it comes to how an estate is handled. If Maryland residents would like more information on estate planning options and how plans may be affected by probate, conferring with an experienced attorney may be a useful step to take.

Source:, "Bonnie Kraham: Use trusts rather than wills to avoid probate", Bonnie Kraham, May 25, 2016

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