Estate Planning & Probate
The old adage “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is particularly applicable when it comes to Estate Planning. Most of us have assets such as real estate, jewelry, stocks and bonds, cash, etc. After one’s death, these assets and belongings pass onto his/her loved ones according to one’s Will. Thus one’s Will serves the purpose of disposing of one’s assets according to his/her wishes. Perhaps you have a nephew who took care of you in old age, or a sibling who was instrumental in getting you the medical treatment you needed. You can provide for these people in a Will. Otherwise, they may not inherit any of your property because by law, your immediate family members, estranged or not, will be the beneficiaries of your estate. Moreover, dying intestate (without leaving a will) will cause your property to be distributed to your immediate family members (typically a percentage to each – including a larger percentage to your spouse if he/she survives you) according to law, regardless of their need and circumstances. This one-shoe-fits all outcome can be avoided by leaving a Will. Not only can you make provisions for those who may need your property after your death, but you may also leave all of your property to your spouse – something that does not happen automatically if you die intestate.
In addition to accomplishing these important purposes, a Will can also be devised to avoid costly “inheritance” or “death” taxes – especially if you have a large estate. Typically, any amount you leave your family above a certain threshold will be taxed at the federal and state level. These taxes can be rather large and diminish your estate by up to more than 1/3. However, you may take advantage of the numerous exceptions in the tax code and devise your estate plan in a way so as to reduce the impact of death taxes while also providing for your family.
At the Law Offices of Alan B. Fischler, LLC, we take a wholesome approach to devising our clients’ Wills and Estate Plans. We understand that each client is different and has different needs. We begin by listening to our clients’ needs and wishes, and tailor their Estate Plans around those wishes. Thereafter, we continue to monitor changes in law and changes in our clients’ circumstances and routinely update their Wills and Estate plans to reflect those changes. If you are concerned about leaving your estate to your family while avoiding costly death taxes, call us today to make an appointment.
Some useful links:
- IRS Estate and Gift Tax Information
- IRS Estate Tax Form (pdf)
- IRS Gift Tax Form (pdf)
- Internal Revenue Code Estate and Gift Tax Provisions
- Maryland Estate Tax Information and Forms