In the latest Weekly Wright Report:
- National Estate Planning Week: Are Your Docs Current?
National Estate Planning Week: Are Your Docs Current?
With National Estate Planning Week coming up on October 17, the national statistics indicate the majority of adults in the United States do not have current estate planning documents. These documents generally include a Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney and an Advance Medical Directive. Many individuals with documents in place, have documents which are more than twenty years old. If you haven’t updated your documents in the last five years, you should take out your copies and review them to make sure they still fit your plan. Often adults first do estate planning documents when their first child is born. The people you named ten or twenty years ago may not be appropriate today. Your assets and your family may have changed as well. When you are juggling work and family, it is easy to let these details slide. The tax laws, trust laws and probate laws have changed dramatically in the last ten years.
Maryland probate fees have just changed. For probate estates in Maryland after October 1, 2022, the top fees have doubled from $5,000 to $10,000. This change will cause many people to consider creating revocable trusts. Revocable trusts are trusts that an individual creates while living. Usually, the individual is the sole beneficiary under the trust and the individual is also the Trustee. The individual retains the power to amend and revoke the trust at any time. The trust contains terms benefiting the individual during his or her lifetime and includes terms about the disposition of assets after the individual’s death. In this way, the revocable trust becomes a will substitute. Any assets retitled into the trust during the individual’s life avoids the probate process and avoids the probate fees. Not all assets are appropriate to retitle into a revocable trust.
Now is a good time to review your documents and take a fresh look at your estate plan. If you have any questions or changes, please contact any member of the Estates & Trusts Group.