When There’s A Will, There’s A Way
Don’t Wait: Review Your Estate and Get a Will
You’ve worked your whole life trying to built wealth, save money, and acquire a few assets and pleasures. You may have a spouse, children, and/or loved ones that depend on you. Undoubtedly, you want to protect this wealth upon your death, ensure your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes, and protect your family.
A Will is the most common way to ensure your assets are directed according to your wishes upon death. Some assets, depending on how they are titled, will pass seamlessly, such as the marital home* passing to the surviving spouse. Without a Will, however, other assets may be distributed according to statute, which means the letter of the law and a probate court will decide how your estate is disbursed. The outcomes decided in probate might not agree with your wishes, might cause undue stress on your survivors at a sensitive time, and might tie up assets that your dependents need to meet their obligations. A Will can help you and your family avoid this, dividing your estate according to your desires and your family’s needs.
There are a number of important reasons to think about your estate now. Not least among these reasons are taxes. There is a multitude of useful and legal ways to pass on wealth that reduces the tax burden on your estate. Lowering your tax bill preserves wealth, helping to ensure more of your money goes to your family instead of to the IRS or Comptroller of Maryland. A number of financial and insurance products, such as life insurance, offer certain tax benefits. A lawyer can help you fully review your assets, explain estate planning options to you, help you create a legal Will, and ensure your loved ones receive your assets.
Fred Antenberg is an attorney in Columbia, Maryland who handles estate planning, wills and estate issues in Howard County, Maryland and surrounding counties. CONTACT Fred at 410-730-4404.
*When titled Tenants by the Entirety or Joint Tenants, the dead spouse’s half transfers to the surviving spouse. If titled as Tenants in Common, half goes to the dead spouse’s estate instead of to the surviving spouse.