When you die away, there are several potential reasons why you would wish your estate to circumvent the probate process in Maryland. The process of probate may be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive all at the same time. In addition, since the probate procedure is open to the public, anybody can access information about your assets, liabilities, creditors, and other financial matters. The procedure of probate can also take a very long time to finish, and while it is going on, your beneficiaries won't be able to get their inheritances. This might become a significant issue if, for instance, your spouse does not have easily accessible funds to make payments on the mortgage, the vehicle, and the insurance, or to meet any other pressing financial responsibilities.
You are in luck because an expert estate planning attorney in Maryland can help you organize your estate in such a manner that it will completely circumvent the probate procedure. Let's take a look at some of the avoiding probate litigation options that are available in Maryland.
Trusts For The Living
When you have a living trust that is set up correctly and is in operation, the ownership of your assets will be transferred to the trust. By designating yourself as the trustee of these assets, you can continue to exercise control over them even while you are still alive. You will also select someone to serve as a "successor trustee," who will take over the management and distribution of the assets following your passing. When you pass away, your successor trustee will be able to distribute the assets held in the trust to the beneficiaries.
Co-Ownership Of A Piece Of Property
The state of Maryland provides two different options for joint ownership. You and another individual, who is referred to as the joint tenant, are required to possess an equal portion of the property in issue to hold a joint tenancy. Tenancy by the entirety is quite similar to joint tenancy, with the exception that only married couples are eligible to use it. You need to be aware, however, that jointly owning a property with someone who is not your wife can be problematic and puts you at risk of being exposed to the creditor claims and obligations of the other co-owner.
After The Decedent's Death Account Identifiers For Financial Institutions
In the state of Maryland, it is possible to add a "payable-on-death" (POD) designation to many types of bank accounts, including savings accounts and certificates of deposit. You continue to have full control over all of the money in the account; your POD beneficiary has no rights to the funds, and you are free to spend any or all of the money in the account whenever you choose. Following your passing, the beneficiary can make a claim on the funds immediately from the bank, without having to go through the probate court process.
You can register stocks and bonds in the state of Maryland as "Transfer-on-Death" (TOD), which means that your designated beneficiary will be able to inherit them after your passing without having to go through the probate process. Your beneficiary can coordinate the transfer of the account by working directly with your broker. Additionally, you are permitted to utilize TOD registration for your car in the state of Maryland. When you register your car with the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), all you have to do is select a beneficiary from the list. It is important to be aware that a Transfer-on-Death Deed cannot be utilized in the process of real estate transfer in the state of Maryland.
Schedule a meeting with The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl by giving them a call if you want to give your estate the best chance of avoiding the probate process. We can get together in person at our office, or we can do it online using Zoom or one of the other available platforms. Additionally, if you are responsible for settling an estate through the probate procedure, we can offer you knowledgeable and empathetic advice as well as walk you through the whole process from beginning to end.