In an ideal world, all of your children would be equally successful. However, that's rarely the case. For any number of reasons, some beyond a person's control, adult siblings may end up with vastly different levels of financial security. One may be a world-renowned chef with several restaurants and a TV show. Another may be a respected professor, living in comfort but not vast wealth. Yet another may have never found his or her niche and is barely making ends meet on his income, with some help from his parents.
Many people these days are single or widowed and don't have any living family. Therefore, they see no reason to have an estate plan or even a simple will. They figure the courts will just sort things out. However, if you have pets, what will happen to them when you die?
Some Maryland couples consult estate planning attorneys to have joint wills drafted. They figure that this is the most efficient way to leave their assets to their children. With a joint will, each can designate that when one of them dies, the estate will automatically go to the surviving spouse.
You've finally decided to put an estate plan in place. Congratulations! Believe it or not, most people don't, and it often causes stress, pain and expense for surviving loved ones.
When you're setting up a trust, you may not be thinking about when and how it ends. However, understanding what brings about the end of a trust can help you avoid unintended consequences for its beneficiaries.
Taking the step to create a sound estate plan is wise. Too many people put it off and end up dying without even a simple will. This can create unnecessary expense and conflicts for their family.
Many estate planning attorneys recommend that in addition to having a will, their clients set up a revocable trust. Revocable trusts allow your assets to be more distributed expediently according to your wishes after you die. A revocable trust also makes it easier for your executor to pay any bills or outstanding debts.
Overall, your odds of successfully challenging a family member's or loved one's will are low. Judges are inclined to respect the wishes of the decedent (known in legal terms as the testator) if the will was properly prepared according to state law.
Estate planning is important for just about everyone. However, if you own a business that you want to thrive long after you're gone, a carefully crafted estate plan is essential. A business owner can use his or her estate plan to designate who will own and manage the business and who will benefit from its continued success.
Some people choose to leave their children out of their estate plan because they believe they've given them more than enough advantages and financial help to become thriving, self-sufficient adults. Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, for example, are leaving relatively small portions of their wealth to their children and the majority to nonprofit organizations.