If you’re creating a will, it may be beneficial to meet with an estate attorney and accountant to sort through complicated estate planning issues. You want to make sure your family benefits from your estate rather than losing property to taxes or estranged relatives. If you’re a Maryland resident, read on to learn more about planning your estate.
Draw up your will
Composing your will is the first step in creating an estate plan. However, many people don’t even bother to create a will. According to the 2020 Estate Planning and Wills study published by Caring.com, only 32% of people have a will. The study was based on responses from 2,400 Americans. Of the people who don’t have a will, over 30% say that it’s because they don’t have enough assets to draw up a will.
If you don’t have a will, your estate will be divided in probate court. This process may leave your relatives with court and administrative fees. The courts may also appoint an executor to determine which family members receive which assets.
Once you compose your will, you should review is regularly. State laws change over time, and familial relationships can change as well.
Determine your beneficiaries
Even though a will is an essential part of estate planning, it is important to realize that not all your assets will be distributed through your will. Your life insurance policies and retirement funds allow you to name beneficiaries. If you don’t name the relatives you want to benefit from these accounts, the accounts will go to probate court where a judge decide who receives the funds.
Remember that the people you name as beneficiaries supersede what is indicated in your will. Be sure to review your beneficiary information during every significant life change, such as divorces, births and marriages.