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How can an estate plan help avoid probate?

Starting to think about estate planning may seem intimidating to many Maryland residents. Because there are many aspects of life to consider as well as the variety of planning tools that could potentially be utilized, it is understandable that some parties may be hesitant when it comes to making an estate plan of their own. However, having the right information could assuage some of those hesitations. 

For instance, a common misconception exists that individuals can avoid probate by simply creating a will. Though this document does have many uses, it does not allow an estate to skip the probate process. Heirs to an estate will need to go through the proper court proceedings in order to receive their inheritances and to ensure the validity of the will. 

If parties are interested in avoiding probate, they do have other options that could help. Creating a revocable trust could allow individuals to place their property into the account while still having the ability to change aspects of the trust if they choose to do so. Additionally, trustees have complete control over the property in the trust, which often brings comfort to those who may worry about losing access to property.

Because an estate plan has a variety of uses and purposes, individuals looking to create their plan for avoiding probate or other uses may want to find out the best way to begin the planning process to meet their specific needs. Maryland residents who would like to gain assistance with this endeavor may wish to consult with experienced attorneys. These legal professionals can provide valuable information and insight into the process.

Source:, "Misconceptions about wills and trusts", Robert D. Schwartz, June 16, 2017

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