Even if you do not consider yourself a wealthy person, estate appraisal in Maryland is an involved process. You will likely need to provide details you have not considered in years, and ponder issues that never occurred to you. When you decide to meet with an estate appraisal attorney, plan for this to take time as you answer many questions. Here is how you can prepare to start this process:
- Compile an inventory: Your estate plan includes a list of all current assets. If an annuity sends you income every month, it is unlikely you will overlook that asset. However, stock purchases and cash deposits that sit and collect interest and dividends may occupy and out-of-sight, out-of-mind area in your considerations. Order your stock portfolios and list your accounts before your appointment. Modifying wills and trusts will result in additional attorney fee bills. Providing complete information now reduces that possibility.
- Consider your possessions: Real estate and large property holdings are difficult to forget. However, if you have antiques or jewelry, they may require further examination. Looking around your home and inspecting your jewelry box to refresh your mind on items once taken for granted is a good practice—we do not always remember items we see or use every day. The same is true if you have possessions in off-site storage; now may be a good time to clean out that unit, since putting things in storage often leaves them forgotten. There may be something that you wish to pass along to a family member, so take steps to avoid overlooking them.
- Assess future needs: This is especially important if you have a dependent who requires long-term support. Good planning assures they continue to thrive, while poor appraisal may threaten their standard of living. If you are caring for a special needs child or other family member, get an idea of how much they will need to be sustained for their lifetime. There are professionals who can help with this, and attorneys may guide you to set up trusts to assure this protection.
- Do not ignore debt: Creditors can disrupt your estate plan and interfere with loved ones receiving needed support. Even if you avoid credit cards and high-interest loans, medical bills from a final illness can reduce your assets upon your death. Maintain a comprehensive record of debts owed now so they can be addressed in your estate plan and not interfere with your final wishes.
- Consider appraisals: An appraiser can be essential to estate appraisal, especially if you own real estate or other high-value assets. The value of these items will determine the strategy your attorney takes in your estate plan. There may need to be tax-minimizing practices or other vehicles to protect assets. Approximate values may not help you, so hire an experienced appraiser to help you in these efforts.
Jane Campbell-Chambliss & Associates, LLC is an appraiser who is prepared to be on your team for estate appraisal in Maryland. Contact us today if you need assistance with inventories and appraisals.