Law Office of Rick Todd Blog

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dying Without an Estate Plan

There’s a common belief held by many people and even some attorneys, that you do not need to have a will or any type of estate planning done before you die. Many feel that the intestacy laws, the laws regarding people who die without a will or trust that manages their assets, are written well enough that your loved ones will get what they need when you die.

For some, this will be true. If you own a home together with a spouse and you die without children, your spouse will own the house without having to go through probate as long as the home was purchased jointly by the spouses when they were married. Most people’s estates are made up of a piece of real property, a car or two, and whatever is left in the bank. Their income by the time they die will primarily be social security. Those people may not need a will.

But for many others, a will is probably needed. If you have children and wish to give one child more than the others, you need a will. If you have a permanently disabled child, you will probably need some sort of testamentary trust. If you wish to give money to charity, you need a will. If you own a business, you probably need a buy/sell agreement. If you’ve been divorced and remarried and want your children from the first marriage to get money, you are almost certainly going to need a trust. The list goes on and on. For all these scenarios you need the assistance of an estate planning attorney. This goes beyond simply selling my own services. The intestacy laws of Howard County and Maryland simply will not distribute assets in the way you wish if you have these issues with your family.

The intestacy laws are written for very simple straightforward estates. That works for a sizable portion of the population. But for the rest of us, people with common family issues, something else is needed. That something else is an estate plan. 

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The Law Offices of Rick Todd has offices located in Columbia, Chevy Chase, Fairfax, Virginia, and Maryland and serves clients throughout Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Fulton, Rockville, Bethesda, Potomac, Laurel, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Washington D.C.

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