Whether you are planning to leave a small savings account, a long-established IRA, or a legacy of wealth, inheritance issues are best resolved before you pass on. As a matter of fact, there are some legal strategies you can take now to minimize inheritance taxes, avoid probate in Maryland, and reduce fighting amongst your heirs. In this article, we’ll show you why it’s important to preserve your inheritance in Maryland and resolve any potential inheritance issues before the death of a loved one, and how to approach the topic with your family!
Even the most loving families can be wrought with emotions and challenges when a family member passes away. The family dynamics can be compounded with spouses, children, and grandchildren. Long-standing family feuds and issues tend to surface quickly in these situations. Inheritance can be a touchy subject even for families that have always gotten along in the past. There are even instances where a nurse, caretaker, or new best friend swoops in, during an elderly person’s final months, to claim “their portion” of the inheritance. Many of these family dynamics can be avoided with proper planning and help preserve inheritance so that it goes to the people you choose.
A legal guide can help you and your family plan for the best outcomes. During a time of crisis, such as an illness or even death, your legal advisor can work on your behalf to communicate with the family and to ensure that your wishes are carried out in accordance with the legal instruments you put in place. Your attorney can also help you sort through some of the family dynamics ahead of time, to ensure that the legal measures you put in place will withstand any anticipated challenges.
Communicate With Your Heirs
According to Forbes, less than a third of parents talk about their estate plans with their children. Talking with your heirs about your decisions is the best way to keep problems from arising after you are gone, when no full explanation can be given for your decisions. You have your reasons for bequeathing certain assets or property to whom you wish, but your heirs may not understand these reasons unless you explain. Of families that reported no disputes regarding inheritance, 63 percent had advance notice of the decedent’s decisions and, if you discuss your estate plan with your children and you find that your reasoning was somehow flawed or that heirs does not want or need what you are planning to leave them, you will have time to change your estate plan if that is what you wish to do.
Creating a No Contest Clause
If you are worried that a dispute will arise and your will may be challenged in probate court, one option is to create a no contest clause. A no contest clause states that if the heir challenges the will, they lose all of their inheritance. However, if you leave a family member out of a will, which is called disinheriting them, a no contest clause will do no good, because s/he has nothing to lose by contesting the will.
Talk with an Annapolis Estate Planning Attorney
Do you have questions about probate and inheritance in Maryland? Does a loved one have a will or trust? Do you want to ensure specific assets go to you or your designated heirs? Do you want to ensure that your life savings is preserved for your loved one’s inheritance? Our Maryland estate planning attorneys can help you create an estate plan or trust that will best serve you and your wishes. Call the Annapolis estate planning attorneys at Frame & Frame today to schedule a free consultation.