Anything involving finances, lawyers and family is sure to result in a stressful situation, with any number of pitfalls and setbacks to ensure it’s a long, drawn out process. In fact, there’s no better example than estate appraisal in Maryland. Trying to settle who is responsible for what, who gets what and how to make everyone happy is the puzzle of all puzzles when it comes to family.
But, while estate appraisal might not necessarily be easy, it’s not impossible—especially if you take a few simple steps to make things easier on yourself and all of those involved in the process. Let’s take a look at five things you can do to ease the burden of estate appraisal:
- First and foremost, make sure you declare absolutely everything! All it’s going to take is one forgotten asset for the entire family to get up in arms about who gets it. Many times this is something easily overlooked, such as a piece of art or a simple coin collection, with a small value that’s just enough to get people fighting. Declaring everything means getting everything out in the open where it can be addressed appropriately.
- Do what you can to minimize your financial obligations before you start estate appraisal, to alleviate the prospect of debt. For example, close any outstanding debts before declaring assets, to present a real picture of estate value, rather than one that comes with strings attached.
- In the same vein as reducing debt, do what you can to reduce your taxable estate. This could mean investing money in non-taxable investment vehicles or parceling out the liquid wealth of the estate in non-taxable gifts. Either way, reducing the overall taxability of the estate means making more people happy when it comes time to actually valuate and distribute it amongst the inheriting parties.
- Consider what will happen to your estate in the hands of those inheriting it and take precautions before actually awarding them their share. In some cases this might mean designating someone to manage a trust, in other cases it could mean specifying that the assets be handled in a certain way, etc. If you foresee issues with the way part of an estate will be handled, it’s best to nip them in the bud early, to prevent future issues from cropping up.
- Always, always work with a professional when estate appraisal in Maryland. Trying to plan your own estate, complete with financial and legal ramifications, is a recipe for disaster that is liable to create more problems than it solves. Working with a professional ensures that everything is done on the level and that your estate is in good standing when the time comes to execute it.
Estate appraisal in Maryland might not be the easiest task in the world, but given the right approach, it’s far from impossible. Follow some of the above tips and take the time to work with an experienced professional from day one.