Maryland Estate Planning Attorney Discusses 4 Misconceptions About Wills

When it comes to estate planning in Maryland, there are many misconceptions.  Over the years, I have noticed some common themes in the way some people think about Wills. In this post, I will discuss 4 common misconceptions I regularly encounter when helping people in Bethesda and Upper Marlboro get their financial affairs in order.

Misconception #1: A Will avoids probate. No.  A Will is the primary tool of the probate system. Your Will is like a letter to the Court telling the Court how you want your property distributed.  Then you must make sure that you prove to the Court that all your property is collected and appraised, and all your bills and taxes are paid, before your property can be distributed to your heirs.

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Is Your Property Titled to Avoid Probate?

I frequently get questions from my clients about how to avoid probate by retitling property.  If your desire is to avoid probate, a properly funded revocable trust can do that.  However, certain types of property ownership can also avoid probate.  There are three categories of property ownership – property titled in your name, in joint names with others, or by contract.  Below is a summary of each type of property ownership and whether or not you can use it to avoid probate.

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5 Tips for Getting Started with your Estate Plan

Do you have your estate plan?  If not, what are you waiting for? Every adult needs an estate plan, even if it is a simple Will.  Here are 5 easy steps to help you get started on your estate plan and protect your family and assets.  To create a comprehensive estate plan, you will need to gather information and make some important decisions. 

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Estate Planning Myth #2

Many people believe that estate plans are only for the wealthy and well-to-do.  This is another common estate planning myth.  More than 60% of all Americans die without an estate plan, leaving their state’s intestacy laws to determine who will inherit their property.  Intestacy laws may also determine who will act as guardian of your … Read more

Estate Planning Myth #1

Many people believe (or are told) that a Revocable Living Trust can reduce estate taxes. This is a very common estate planning myth.  A Revocable Living Trust does not reduce your estate taxes.  The main purpose of a Revocable Living Trust is to avoid probate, plan for disability/ incapacity and to protect your privacy. A married … Read more

The Basics of Estate Planning – Part V

4 Documents Every Parent With Minor Children Should Have

Welcome to the last installment of my five-part series, The Basics of Estate Planning. In part I, we defined estate planning and provided examples of what could happen to you if die without an estate plan. In part II, we discussed Wills, the advantages and disadvantages of having a Will as part of your estate plan, and we also discussed what you should consider before making a Will. In part III, we discussed Trusts and the advantages and disadvantages of having a Trust as part of your estate plan. We also discussed how to determine if a Will or a Trust is right for you. In part IV, we discussed the different types of power of attorney. Review parts I-IV on my blog. This last installment will focus on guardianship planning for minor children.

If you have minor children, then you need a comprehensive guardianship plan to ensure your children will always be taken care of if something happens to you and your spouse, if you are married.

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