As baby boomers age, and as families become increasingly blended by divorce, remarriage and other matters, feuds over inheritances continue to increase in number. Maryland residents who want to clarify their wishes and prevent family disputes can take some key steps in estate planning.
In many cases, the most important thing families can do is talk about the estate. The conversation could involve anyone, including children, stepchildren or grandchildren, who may have an interest in estate assets. A good conversation gives heirs and estate owners the opportunity to express their individual wishes regarding practical matters, as well as property that may have sentimental value. This sort of communication can help ensure that everyone is on the same page when the will is executed.
Whenever there is a major change in the family, including divorce, remarriage or the start of a new business, estate planning documents should be updated quickly just in case something bad suddenly happens. When someone dies with an outdated will, it often leads to family disputes. Early planning is the key. If a person waits until a serious illness or legal incapacitation becomes an issue, then the validity any estate planning during that time could be called into question.
Of course, the final say about estate planning is up to the owner of the assets. When deciding how those items should be distributed, it is important think carefully about what you want and what is fair. Equal distribution is not always fair distribution, and in other cases an equal distribution is the appropriate way to go. In any case, you'll want to speak with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your legal documents account for everything and protect your wishes.