Discussing income and wealth is something many people try to avoid, even your closest friends and family members. With the second-highest share of millionaires per capita of any U.S. state, 9.72% of all households, Maryland residents can benefit from better estate planning education. Even though it’s uncomfortable, consider talking to your parents about their estate plan to help secure your family’s estate.
Bringing estate planning up now can even help your parents save
Maryland levies taxes against estates and inheritances when beneficiaries receive them. Fortunately, Maryland only taxes estates worth more than $5 million, taking a cut between 8% and 16%. The Old Line State also has an inheritance tax of 10%, making it the only state with both estate and inheritance taxes.
Once an estate’s owners pass away, they can’t use estate planning to reduce tax burdens. By proactively inviting your parents to a group discussion about their estate plan, your family can use estate planning tools like certain kinds of trusts to avoid such taxes.
Tips for making the discussion happen
Not knowing how to start the family’s estate planning talk is a common reason for avoiding it altogether. Asking your parents to briefly explain their understanding of estate planning is a solid starting point.
Striking an ideal balance between privacy and openness is another great tip to follow. In other words, don’t keep your idea to discuss your parents’ estate plan a secret. You shouldn’t keep other family members in the dark about this unless your parents specifically ask you to keep the discussion secret.
Don’t make the mistake of having just one discussion about your folks’ estate plan, especially if they haven’t finalized their documents. Check back in every few months or so to monitor the status of your parents’ estate planning efforts.
If possible, hold your estate planning discussion when your parents are in good health. Waiting until they’re sick can result in their inability to plan on their own, potentially leading to conflict.
Try using the aforementioned suggestions to make a helpful estate planning conversation a reality. Don’t give up on the process too soon because your family is relying on you.