McEvoy Law

Frederick Maryland Law Blog

Not every Maryland estate has to be probated

Many Maryland residents draft a will so that they can decide who inherits their assets instead of a judge doing that for them. Even still, a testator's estate must be probated. It's during this process that a probate can decide to handle things differently. There are ways that you can avoid the probate altogether though.

One of the best steps that you can take if you have a life or other type of valuable insurance policy in place is to name a specific loved one as the beneficiary of its proceeds instead of your estate. This will allow any money to go directly to your designee, bypassing the probate process when you die.

Consider the following potential issues with your trustee choice

More than likely, you will discover that one of the most important and challenging decisions you will make during estate planning is choosing the individuals who will represent your interests. If you decide that a trust will do that best, you will need to choose a trustee.

Of course, you should choose someone you trust and who is willing to do the job, but you also need to consider other factors as well. This article explores some of the potential problems that could arise during trust administration that you may want to consider before appointing a trustee.

Common executor errors that could lead to trouble

If you agreed to serve as the executor of the estate of a loved one, you may have gotten an overview of your responsibilities. Now that your loved one has passed away, you may find yourself intimidated by those responsibilities.

The last thing you want to do is make a mistake that could end up costing the heirs and beneficiaries -- and you. In some cases, you could end up personally liable for your errors. Below are some of the mistakes that could come back to haunt you long after the administration of the estate is complete.

What does it mean to open an estate?

If you find yourself serving as a decedent's personal representative or the executor of their estate for the first time, then it's likely that you're not exactly sure of all the responsibilities that you need to fulfill. There are many. The first step that you should take is to open the estate.

In case you're wondering what opening an estate entails, it starts with you locating and filing a decedent's last will and testament with the probate court in the county where the decedent resided.

What happens if you die without a will in Maryland?

While many individuals take time to sit down and draft a will at some point during their lives, there is a significant number of people who do not. Many people believe that they're too young, too healthy or that they don't have enough assets to warrant drafting one. Death comes to everyone's doorstep at some point in their lives though. Everyone should have a will.

One of the more common questions that Frederick attorneys get asked after a loved one dies unexpectedly without a will is what happens with their assets once this happens. Many individuals who ask this question tend to be under the impression that these assets automatically get transferred to the state in these cases. That's not necessarily what happens though.

What estate planning documents do you need at your life stage?

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not a process that you do once and then never revisit it. It's instead something that you should expect to do at different stages of your life including when you get engaged, married, have a child, you get divorced and as you age.

If you're single and in a committed relationship, then you may want your significant other to inherit some or all of your assets if something were to happen to you. You may also want them to be able to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. If you do, then you will need to update your estate planning documents to reflect this.

There are 3 valid reasons to contest a will

Most individuals aren't aware of the contents of a loved one's will until after their loved one passes.

It can be disappointing and downright shocking if you find out that your loved one has left you less than what you expected -- or has even completely written you out of their will. If you believe that your loved one wouldn't have intentionally done this, then you may be able to contest their will.

What contingencies are in your home purchase contract?

Buying a home in Maryland is not an easy process. If you have found a property in Frederick County or beyond, you may want to move quickly to secure it as your own. However, there are some steps you should take carefully, and among the first is to understand and sign the sales contract.

The sales contract is a legally binding agreement between you and the seller of the property. In addition to containing a description of the property and the agreed upon price, your sales contract may also include a list of contingencies. These contingencies allow you or the seller to cancel the sale under certain circumstances.

Be alert for legal issues many businesses face

Whether you realize it or not, you deal with legal issues every day in your Maryland business. If you use contracts, have employees on your payroll or pay taxes, you are handling only a few of the many potential legal matters that arise in a business or practice.

If you are busy trying to keep your business successful, you certainly don't have time to earn a law degree or even take a class on business law. So what can you do if legal questions arise that are beyond your scope of knowledge? Are you comfortable risking the wellbeing of your enterprise by taking advice from a website or e-zine? Undoubtedly, you would feel more secure if you had solid advice you knew you could rely on and advisors you could turn to for counsel in any situation.

What you should discuss with a prospective executor

Every adult in Frederick and throughout the U.S. should draft a will to express their final wishes. Estate planning doesn't just involve drafting a will, though. The selection of an executor is an important part of this.

One of the most important decisions that you'll have to make before you finalize your will is to select a personal representative or executor of your estate. They'll be responsible for submitting your final tax return, paying off any outstanding debts you may owe when you die and also for distributing any remaining assets to your heirs.

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McEvoy Law
8 West Third Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701

Phone: 301-228-0810
Fax: 301-694-2754
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