"Unfortunately, 65% of American adults do not have wills"
One of the last things on your mind is probably writing a Maryland will or thinking about putting your assets in a Maryland trust–both of which can ensure that you leave loved ones properly cared for, prevent disagreements among possible heirs and prevent unnecessary attorney fees from eating away at your estate.
At FixedFeeLegal.net we will explain the differences between a Maryland will and a Maryland trust and discuss with you just how important this kind of documentation is, especially at the time of death. We can prepare both documents for a reasonable flat fee.
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What is a Maryland Will?
A will is a document that tells legal authorities what should happen to your possessions when you die. It can be any length, and in most states, it must be witnessed by others who agree that you have the mental capacity to make your own choices.
If you have minor children, a will designates their legal guardian (with whom your children would live), and sometimes a financial guardian, who’d make sure that your assets are distributed to your kids appropriately through their minor years and in full when they reach legal age or another designated date. After you die, a will must be verified as valid in “probate court,” which is a court of law that deals specifically with wills and estates.
What is a Maryland Trust?
A trust is akin to a mini corporation through which property intended for the benefit of one party, the “beneficiary,” is held by another party, the “trustee.” The trustee and the beneficiary can also be the same person; sometimes there are many beneficiaries, and sometimes there are many trustees.
Trusts allow your assets and possessions to skip the probate court process and go directly to intended recipients, saving time and money spent on court and attorney fees.
Trusts can also be arranged to cooperate with laws currently in effect, in order to avoid various types of taxes. But if the law changes by the time you die, aspects of the trust governed by former laws may no longer result in the best tax outcome.
Why Wills and Trusts Matter
Unfortunately, 65% of American adults do not have wills, according to a 2010 Harris poll conducted for Lawyers.com. And the numbers don’t improve for older Americans: Four in ten baby boomers also lack one, based on a 2012 survey conducted by RocketLawyer.com.
Without a Maryland will, you take a risk. Your money, house, car, boat, other material items and minor children land in limbo–with no clear recipient, beneficiary or guardian to receive them.
The same survey also found that half of Americans with children do not have a will. If you have kids, and you don’t create a will before your death, the Maryland probate court will decide who will be the guardian of your children. Although this is usually the closest family member, without specific instructions, your kids could end up in an environment that’s not to your liking.
A Maryland trust is geared toward folks with a positive net worth and assets, such as cars, houses, savings accounts and a substantial amount of life insurance. If you don’t have much in the way of assets, a trust may not be necessary.
A trust requires planning, maintenance and can be more expensive to create than a will. However, upon your death, the trust will be immediately transferred to your beneficiary, with no lengthy and costly probate involved.
About Maryland Wills and Codicils
Ready to talk about wills, trusts, or probate? We’re here to help.
We are committed to keeping our clients fully informed and offering them the guidance and support they need to make good choices between different legal alternatives. For as long as we represent you, you will receive the same dedication and quality of service that brought you to us in the first place.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with our estate planning lawyer, contact us, or call us at 301-605-1722. We look forward to helping you.