When you are married with children, estate planning seems pretty straightforward.
You want your spouse making decisions for you if you are incapacitated, and you want to make sure your assets go to your spouse when you die and then to your children after your spouse is gone.
Seems simple, right?
If only our probate courts weren’t clogged with the impact of the complexity of money and family. Then it would be "easy" to go through court and there wouldn’t be $58 billion (with a "b") of assets in the state departments of unclaimed property across the United States (1.6 billion in Maryland alone).
Also, did you know that the law in Maryland and the District of Columbia does not allow your property to go to your spouse and then to your kids if you do not have an estate plan. The law actually requires that your assets are split up in various percentages between your spouse and your kids depending on the ages of your kids and the state in which you live!
There are a myriad of questions that need to be answered to ensure your family stays out of probate court and out of family conflict in the event of your incapacity or death, even when you are simply married with children. And some tactical specifics need to happen to ensure your assets do not end up lost to the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property Unit if your family overlooks something when you are not there to guide them.
Plus, if you are in a blended family with children from a prior marriage, it is almost guaranteed the people you love will end up in conflict if you do not plan ahead.
Most of all, your wealth isn’t measured just by the dollars in your bank account but by the well being of the people you love. If you are reading this, it is because you care enough to get your estate planning handled so your family will stay out of probate court and out of conflict no matter what.
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