When it comes to estate planning in Maryland, your first instinct isn’t always the best. One incorrect assumption could invalidate your entire will or reduce the number of assets that your children can inherit. The situation becomes even more complicated if you’re on your second or third marriage.
What are some major estate planning mistakes?
When you start estate planning, it might seem safe to assume that you can leave your assets to your spouse and let them divide them among your children. However, your spouse might not want to give assets to children from a previous marriage. Instead of leaving your spouse everything, you could set up trusts for your children.
Even if you can trust your spouse, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to give your children their share of the assets. Your spouse might fall ill near the end of their life and have to use the assets to pay for their care. Since you gave your spouse everything, they’re not obligated to leave a certain amount for your kids. Your children might get only a fraction of the inheritance that you left for them.
Before you complete your estate plans, you should also check your state’s laws about leaving assets to your spouse. If you don’t mention your new spouse specifically in your will, some states rule that everything goes to your kids. Since your children get everything, they might not want to share with their step-parent.
Do you need an attorney to help you write a will?
An attorney could help you write a will that leaves a fair share of assets to your spouse and children. Since your new spouse might have tension with your children from your previous marriage, it’s best to name everyone specifically in your will so they can’t withhold assets from each other.