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Should You Avoid Probate?

Bethesda wills and trust lawyers can review your situation and advise whether avoiding probate is cost effective and necessary to preserve your legacy.

People often have a fear of probate and no doubt have heard terrible stories about people losing substantial assets through the probate process. It is true that going through probate is extremely costly in some states. However, the Maryland State Bar Association points out that the Maryland probate process is not cumbersome. For example, the probate fee for an estate valued between $500,000 and $750,000 is $750. Preparing estate and fiduciary income tax returns for trusts and wills probably cost more than probate. Also, for estates valued between $30,000 and less than $50,000 where the spouse is the sole beneficiary, Maryland has a very streamlined procedure.

A trust is one way of avoiding probate, but Bethesda wills and probate attorneys also have other options for avoiding probate and can help you weigh those benefits against the benefits of a trust. Certain assets do not have to pass through probate, such as life insurance benefits and retirement benefits. Also, a life estate passes directly to the remainder person and does not go through probate. A life estate grants the right for someone else to reside on real estate property during that person’s lifetime. For example, parents can turn over a property title to children but maintain a life estate that allows the parents to live on the property until they die. A trust may offer greater protections and advantages depending on the individual’s relationship with their children.

Bauersfeld Burton Hendricks & Vanderhoof LLC works with clients to help make decisions that are in their best interests.

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