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Maryland Estate Planning Video FAQs

Can a will be changed or revoked?

Video Transcription:

Your will can always be changed or revoked. In the event that you have a change in circumstances, you always want to review your will to see if any changes are necessary. If you have a child, if you adopt a child, if you have a death in the family, you would want to have that document reviewed. At any point in time, you have any changes or you want to revoke it, you’re able to do that as well.

Can I control how money is left to my children?

Video Transcription:

There are certain ways that you can control how money is left to your children. You could have a will prepared and you could set forth various distributions, percentages and contingencies or conditions on those distributions. You can also consider a trust, which provides for more creativity. You have more control over your funds after your death. A trust can ensure that your estate is distributed exactly the way you want it to be distributed in what proportion and in what times far into the future, unlike a will.

Can I make a provision in my will for my pets?

Video Transcription:

You can make a provision for your pets in your will. When you do so, you want to consider who you want to take care of the pet on a daily basis as well as who you want to manage the money that you set aside for those pets. Additionally, you want to possibly put some conditions on how you want the money to be used on behalf of your pets. Then lastly, what happens to the money that’s left over upon the death of your pets.

Can I use my will to name a guardian to care for my young children and manage their property?

Video Transcription:

If you have children who are under the age of 18, you definitely want to appoint a guardian in your will. The guardian would be the person who’s going to be responsible for the day-to-day care of the children. The court would need to appoint a person to care for your children in the event of your death and they’re going to look to the guardian that you appoint or name in your will as that person. The guardian may or may not be the same as the trustee. The trustee would be a person who manages and invests the money for the children. They do not have to be the same person but they certainly can be.

Do I need an attorney to make my will?

Video Transcription:

You don’t necessarily need an attorney to make your will. A will does need to be in writing and witnessed by two people, preferably independent people, but I do suggest that you consult an attorney because certainly there are provisions that would be included in a will that you may not be aware of, that would ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended them to be.

Do I retain control of my property if it is in a trust?

Video Transcription:

If you have a revocable or living trust and you have assets held in that trust, really the only thing that’s different is the titling. Instead of having the assets titled in your own soul name, the assets are titled in the name of the trust. As long as you’re the trustee, you have complete control over those assets. At some point in time if you become incapacitated or you pass, a successor trustee would take over. At that point in time the successor trustee would be in control of the assets.

Does a will control all of my property?

Video Transcription:

A will does not necessarily control all of your property. It would depend on how the asset is titled, as well as what type of asset it is. Most of the time, if you have property that’s just titled solely in your name, it would pass to the will. In cases such as life insurance, annuities, CDs and retirement plans, most of the time they will have beneficiaries designated so those types of assets would not pass through your will or through probate. Additionally if you have real property and another person’s name is on that property it would depend on how it’s titled to determine whether or not that property would pass through your will.

How can a power of attorney potentially prevent a guardianship proceeding?

Video Transcription:

If at some point in time you’re deemed incompetent or you’re diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, at that point in time you become incapable of creating a legal document or managing your own affairs. If you have a power of attorney, that power of attorney can do everything that you could do which would avoid a guardianship.

If you don’t have a power of attorney there’s no one that you have appointed ahead of time to manage your affairs, therefore, a person who wants to act as your guardian would have to apply to the court and go through that process for the court to appoint them as a guardian, which can be very expensive. A power of attorney is a very simple document and it can avoid potentially that long and expensive guardianship process.

How can I leave specific items to particular people?

Video Transcription:

If you want to leave a specific item to a particular person, you could list those items in your will. That’s called a specific request. The personal representative would be directed to distribute those items directly to those people as you have listed in your will in that provision.

How often should my will be reviewed?

Video Transcription:

My suggestion is that everyone should review their will and their estate plan at least every 10 years. But if you have any change in circumstances in your family such as the birth of a child, adoption of a child, a death of a spouse or another family member or death of a child, you definitely would want to review your estate plan and review your will to see if any changes or modifications would be appropriate.

Is the personal representative entitled to be paid?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, a personal representative of an estate is entitled to be paid commissions for the work that they do in the estate. The commissions are based on the value of the estate. They are calculated at 9% of the first 20,000 and then 3.6% of everything over and above that. Those commissions do have to be approved by the Orphans’ Court.

Is there anything that I can do if I realize that my parents’ estate planning is incomplete or outdated?

Video Transcription:

An estate plan would include at least the basic documents which include a will, a power of attorney, a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. In addition to that, you may want to also consider other documents such as an appointment of guardian, a trust may be in order depending on your particular circumstances as well as you can use life insurance as part of your estate plan. There are many options to consider and it all depends on your particular circumstances.

Should I consider life insurance during the estate planning process?

Video Transcription:

Life insurance is definitely something you should consider when you’re planning your estate. Life insurance can be used for a variety of purposes, in the event that you want to ensure that there’s enough money to pay for your funeral expenses, if you have debt, medical debt from possibly a long-term illness, or you have a mortgage that remains unpaid, you can use those life insurance benefits to pay down and pay those expenses. Additionally, life insurance is immediately distributable. It does not go through the probate process, and is not part of your estate. Therefore the beneficiary needs only provide a death certificate and an application to claim those benefits. Life insurance definitely is something that could benefit your estate. You should talk to a financial planner to discuss the possibility and the cost of that life insurance policy.

What does an estate plan include?

Video Transcription:

A proper estate plan would include the basics which would be a will, a power of attorney, a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. If you have children that are minors or under the age of 18, you would also want to have another document called an appointment of guardian. That would be a document where you appoint someone to take care of your children in the event that you pass prior to them turning 18.

What does tenants in common mean?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, tenants in common is a way of owning real property. Tenants in common does not have right of survivorship, therefore, each person owns their percentage of the property. That percentage goes to their estate when they pass. If you have two people owning a property as tenants in common, 50% would go through each person’s estate upon their death. That 50% would go to their beneficiaries. That’s unlike joint tenants or tenants by the entirety whereby the survivor takes the remainder of the property. It does not go through the decedent’s estate unless they are the last living survivor.

What happens if I name a trust as beneficiary of my IRA?

Video Transcription:

If you have an IRA, generally, you’re going to name a beneficiary. If you name your trust as that beneficiary, upon your death the trustee would provide a copy of the death certificate to the plan administrator, then those benefits would be paid to your trust. The asset would then become part of the trust estate and would be distributed, in accordance with the provisions of the trust language.

What is a durable comprehensive power of attorney?

Video Transcription:

A durable comprehensive power of attorney is a document, whereby you appoint someone to take care of your financial affairs. In the event that you become incompetent or you’re otherwise incapable of managing your own affairs, that person will do that for you. That person stands in your shoes and they can do everything that you could do, had you otherwise been able and capable of managing your finances. The power of attorney is durable, meaning that if you are deemed incompetent, that document remains effective and enforceable . The power of attorney does die with you. At your death, the power of attorney is no longer effective or valid and your will takes over and controls at that point in time.

What is a health care power of attorney?

Video Transcription:

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that you would sign to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you. In the event that you’re hospitalized or that you’re otherwise incapacitated and you can’t make those decisions for yourself, that person would make those decisions for you. You want to make sure that you pick a person who would make the same decisions that you would make had you been able to make those decisions at the time.

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

Video Transcription:

Although both will and trust are both revocable and modifiable, a will has to be recorded and filed with the country and it becomes public information. You have a personal representative who has to probate your assets and file accountings with the court. The court also has to approve the final distribution before the estate is closed. With a trust, a trust is a completely private document. It provides great control and creativity, whereby you can determine how and when your beneficiaries receive their portion of your estate. It’s also a way to avoid probate and make for immediate distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries without having a waiting period.

Who inherits my Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if I do not name a beneficiary?

Video Transcription:

If you do not have a beneficiary named on your individual retirement account or IRA, those funds are payable to your estate. The funds would then be distributed by your personal representative, according to the provisions of your will through the probate process.

Who needs estate planning?

Video Transcription:

Well, everyone needs an estate plan, especially when you get married, when you have children, you want to make sure that those children are protected and your family is protected in the future. The way to do that is to speak with an attorney. Talk about your individual circumstances and make sure that you have everything you need. The basics of an estate plan, would be a will, power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a living will. Those are the basics that everyone really needs as a basic estate plan to protect their family’s future.

Why should I consider creating a revocable living trust?

Video Transcription:

There are many reasons why you might want to consider a revocable trust. For one thing, it is a private document. It’s not recorded with the county, unlike a will which is a private document that has to be recorded once a person dies, in order to probate the estate. Additionally, a revocable trust gives you flexibility. As your circumstances change, it’s easily modifiable and adaptable. Additionally, it does avoid probate. As long as it is properly funded, your personal representative or trustee would be able to avoid opening an estate to probate the assets. Additional benefit of revocable trust is the the assets are immediately available to the beneficiaries. The trustee can make immediate distribution, pursuant to the trust agreement and it doesn’t have to wait or go through the probate process or go to a waiting period.

Will I still have control over my property if I have a living trust?

Video Transcription:

If you have a living trust or a revocable trust, you do retain a control over your assets. Usually, you are going to appoint yourself as the trustee. As the trustee, you have total control of your assets until such time as either you become incapacitated and a successor trustee takes over or you pass. But as long a you are the trustee, that revocable trust is amendable, it’s adaptable and you can change it or revoke it at any time as well as you have complete control of all of the assets within that trust.

Do you have a question that’s not answered on this list? Call us at 410-255-0373.

Maryland Estate Planning Video FAQs

Can a will be changed or revoked?

Video Transcription:

Your will can always be changed or revoked. In the event that you have a change in circumstances, you always want to review your will to see if any changes are necessary. If you have a child, if you adopt a child, if you have a death in the family, you would want to have that document reviewed. At any point in time, you have any changes or you want to revoke it, you’re able to do that as well.

Can I control how money is left to my children?

Video Transcription:

There are certain ways that you can control how money is left to your children. You could have a will prepared and you could set forth various distributions, percentages and contingencies or conditions on those distributions. You can also consider a trust, which provides for more creativity. You have more control over your funds after your death. A trust can ensure that your estate is distributed exactly the way you want it to be distributed in what proportion and in what times far into the future, unlike a will.

Can I make a provision in my will for my pets?

Video Transcription:

You can make a provision for your pets in your will. When you do so, you want to consider who you want to take care of the pet on a daily basis as well as who you want to manage the money that you set aside for those pets. Additionally, you want to possibly put some conditions on how you want the money to be used on behalf of your pets. Then lastly, what happens to the money that’s left over upon the death of your pets.

Can I use my will to name a guardian to care for my young children and manage their property?

Video Transcription:

If you have children who are under the age of 18, you definitely want to appoint a guardian in your will. The guardian would be the person who’s going to be responsible for the day-to-day care of the children. The court would need to appoint a person to care for your children in the event of your death and they’re going to look to the guardian that you appoint or name in your will as that person. The guardian may or may not be the same as the trustee. The trustee would be a person who manages and invests the money for the children. They do not have to be the same person but they certainly can be.

Do I need an attorney to make my will?

Video Transcription:

You don’t necessarily need an attorney to make your will. A will does need to be in writing and witnessed by two people, preferably independent people, but I do suggest that you consult an attorney because certainly there are provisions that would be included in a will that you may not be aware of, that would ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended them to be.

Do I retain control of my property if it is in a trust?

Video Transcription:

If you have a revocable or living trust and you have assets held in that trust, really the only thing that’s different is the titling. Instead of having the assets titled in your own soul name, the assets are titled in the name of the trust. As long as you’re the trustee, you have complete control over those assets. At some point in time if you become incapacitated or you pass, a successor trustee would take over. At that point in time the successor trustee would be in control of the assets.

Does a will control all of my property?

Video Transcription:

A will does not necessarily control all of your property. It would depend on how the asset is titled, as well as what type of asset it is. Most of the time, if you have property that’s just titled solely in your name, it would pass to the will. In cases such as life insurance, annuities, CDs and retirement plans, most of the time they will have beneficiaries designated so those types of assets would not pass through your will or through probate. Additionally if you have real property and another person’s name is on that property it would depend on how it’s titled to determine whether or not that property would pass through your will.

How can a power of attorney potentially prevent a guardianship proceeding?

Video Transcription:

If at some point in time you’re deemed incompetent or you’re diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, at that point in time you become incapable of creating a legal document or managing your own affairs. If you have a power of attorney, that power of attorney can do everything that you could do which would avoid a guardianship.

If you don’t have a power of attorney there’s no one that you have appointed ahead of time to manage your affairs, therefore, a person who wants to act as your guardian would have to apply to the court and go through that process for the court to appoint them as a guardian, which can be very expensive. A power of attorney is a very simple document and it can avoid potentially that long and expensive guardianship process.

How can I leave specific items to particular people?

Video Transcription:

If you want to leave a specific item to a particular person, you could list those items in your will. That’s called a specific request. The personal representative would be directed to distribute those items directly to those people as you have listed in your will in that provision.

How often should my will be reviewed?

Video Transcription:

My suggestion is that everyone should review their will and their estate plan at least every 10 years. But if you have any change in circumstances in your family such as the birth of a child, adoption of a child, a death of a spouse or another family member or death of a child, you definitely would want to review your estate plan and review your will to see if any changes or modifications would be appropriate.

Is the personal representative entitled to be paid?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, a personal representative of an estate is entitled to be paid commissions for the work that they do in the estate. The commissions are based on the value of the estate. They are calculated at 9% of the first 20,000 and then 3.6% of everything over and above that. Those commissions do have to be approved by the Orphans’ Court.

Is there anything that I can do if I realize that my parents’ estate planning is incomplete or outdated?

Video Transcription:

An estate plan would include at least the basic documents which include a will, a power of attorney, a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. In addition to that, you may want to also consider other documents such as an appointment of guardian, a trust may be in order depending on your particular circumstances as well as you can use life insurance as part of your estate plan. There are many options to consider and it all depends on your particular circumstances.

Should I consider life insurance during the estate planning process?

Video Transcription:

Life insurance is definitely something you should consider when you’re planning your estate. Life insurance can be used for a variety of purposes, in the event that you want to ensure that there’s enough money to pay for your funeral expenses, if you have debt, medical debt from possibly a long-term illness, or you have a mortgage that remains unpaid, you can use those life insurance benefits to pay down and pay those expenses. Additionally, life insurance is immediately distributable. It does not go through the probate process, and is not part of your estate. Therefore the beneficiary needs only provide a death certificate and an application to claim those benefits. Life insurance definitely is something that could benefit your estate. You should talk to a financial planner to discuss the possibility and the cost of that life insurance policy.

What does an estate plan include?

Video Transcription:

A proper estate plan would include the basics which would be a will, a power of attorney, a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. If you have children that are minors or under the age of 18, you would also want to have another document called an appointment of guardian. That would be a document where you appoint someone to take care of your children in the event that you pass prior to them turning 18.

What does tenants in common mean?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, tenants in common is a way of owning real property. Tenants in common does not have right of survivorship, therefore, each person owns their percentage of the property. That percentage goes to their estate when they pass. If you have two people owning a property as tenants in common, 50% would go through each person’s estate upon their death. That 50% would go to their beneficiaries. That’s unlike joint tenants or tenants by the entirety whereby the survivor takes the remainder of the property. It does not go through the decedent’s estate unless they are the last living survivor.

What happens if I name a trust as beneficiary of my IRA?

Video Transcription:

If you have an IRA, generally, you’re going to name a beneficiary. If you name your trust as that beneficiary, upon your death the trustee would provide a copy of the death certificate to the plan administrator, then those benefits would be paid to your trust. The asset would then become part of the trust estate and would be distributed, in accordance with the provisions of the trust language.

What is a durable comprehensive power of attorney?

Video Transcription:

A durable comprehensive power of attorney is a document, whereby you appoint someone to take care of your financial affairs. In the event that you become incompetent or you’re otherwise incapable of managing your own affairs, that person will do that for you. That person stands in your shoes and they can do everything that you could do, had you otherwise been able and capable of managing your finances. The power of attorney is durable, meaning that if you are deemed incompetent, that document remains effective and enforceable . The power of attorney does die with you. At your death, the power of attorney is no longer effective or valid and your will takes over and controls at that point in time.

What is a health care power of attorney?

Video Transcription:

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that you would sign to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you. In the event that you’re hospitalized or that you’re otherwise incapacitated and you can’t make those decisions for yourself, that person would make those decisions for you. You want to make sure that you pick a person who would make the same decisions that you would make had you been able to make those decisions at the time.

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

Video Transcription:

Although both will and trust are both revocable and modifiable, a will has to be recorded and filed with the country and it becomes public information. You have a personal representative who has to probate your assets and file accountings with the court. The court also has to approve the final distribution before the estate is closed. With a trust, a trust is a completely private document. It provides great control and creativity, whereby you can determine how and when your beneficiaries receive their portion of your estate. It’s also a way to avoid probate and make for immediate distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries without having a waiting period.

Who inherits my Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if I do not name a beneficiary?

Video Transcription:

If you do not have a beneficiary named on your individual retirement account or IRA, those funds are payable to your estate. The funds would then be distributed by your personal representative, according to the provisions of your will through the probate process.

Who needs estate planning?

Video Transcription:

Well, everyone needs an estate plan, especially when you get married, when you have children, you want to make sure that those children are protected and your family is protected in the future. The way to do that is to speak with an attorney. Talk about your individual circumstances and make sure that you have everything you need. The basics of an estate plan, would be a will, power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a living will. Those are the basics that everyone really needs as a basic estate plan to protect their family’s future.

Why should I consider creating a revocable living trust?

Video Transcription:

There are many reasons why you might want to consider a revocable trust. For one thing, it is a private document. It’s not recorded with the county, unlike a will which is a private document that has to be recorded once a person dies, in order to probate the estate. Additionally, a revocable trust gives you flexibility. As your circumstances change, it’s easily modifiable and adaptable. Additionally, it does avoid probate. As long as it is properly funded, your personal representative or trustee would be able to avoid opening an estate to probate the assets. Additional benefit of revocable trust is the the assets are immediately available to the beneficiaries. The trustee can make immediate distribution, pursuant to the trust agreement and it doesn’t have to wait or go through the probate process or go to a waiting period.

Will I still have control over my property if I have a living trust?

Video Transcription:

If you have a living trust or a revocable trust, you do retain a control over your assets. Usually, you are going to appoint yourself as the trustee. As the trustee, you have total control of your assets until such time as either you become incapacitated and a successor trustee takes over or you pass. But as long a you are the trustee, that revocable trust is amendable, it’s adaptable and you can change it or revoke it at any time as well as you have complete control of all of the assets within that trust.

Do you have a question that’s not answered on this list? Call us at 410-255-0373.

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