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Pitfalls of DIY estate planning in Maryland

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | Estate Planning

Estate planning law is more thorough than many people realize. Navigating the ins and outs takes a lot of time. Aside from that, you could make mistakes in your property and assets division that cause confusion over what to do.

Choosing the wrong type of trust

There are different types of trusts, so you might set up one that wouldn’t be right for your situation. Special needs trusts, for instance, protect beneficiaries who have special needs. If you were to give them an inheritance through your will or any other means, including some trusts, then they might lose their eligibility for government benefits.

Assigning more than one beneficiary

You might accidentally assign more than one beneficiary for an asset, or you could miscalculate the value of your assets. These errors could cause conflict after death and slow the probate process. Mistakes are more likely to happen when you revise your estate plan because you might forget another area to tweak. You may decide to name a beneficiary on your bank account, which would automatically transfer it to them after your death. Your will can’t override this. Thus, you may want to remember to adjust your will to reflect the change to prevent arguments after your death.

Incorrectly setting up funds for pets

A common mistake that DIY testators make when they are planning for their pets’ care after their death is outlining the rules in their will. Maryland can’t enforce monetary restrictions on assets you pass on through a will. The state can, however, uphold the wishes for your pet when you set up a pet trust.

Making other mistakes

There are a lot of mistakes that you could make while DIY estate planning. Because the law is extensive, you may not realize that you made a mistake with your will or other estate plan components. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Examples of other mistakes are:

  • Miscalculating the tax implications
  • Not having backup beneficiaries, executors, trustees, etc.
  • Structuring your asset division in a way that costs more money
  • Failing to include incapacity clauses
  • Forgetting to clarify your funeral and burial wishes

DIY estate planning could result in a wide range of mistakes. This may slow the probate process and cause conflict or confusion among your beneficiaries.