Estate appraisal in Maryland is like any type of planning for the future—you must take it seriously and consider the details. Many people buy into myths about estate planning and may do it poorly if they get around to it at all. Here are the common estate planning mistakes we come across that can make the transfer of your assets after death unnecessarily complicated:
- Never doing it: You do not have to be a well-known millionaire with a vast collection of Victorian antiques to require estate appraisal and professional appraisals. Your assets may be worth more than you realize, and if you own a home, savings account, investments and other non-liquid income-producing items, you need a plan to transfer their ownership to someone else after you die. Otherwise, your loved ones not only have to grieve losing you, but they also must wait until the courts determine who is entitled to your property. This makes estate appraisal one of the most considerate things you can do for your survivors.
- Dying with an out-of-date will: If you drafted a will during your first marriage when you had no children, and now you are on the second marriage with two minor children, that can cause quite the upheaval should you pass away suddenly. Everything from marriage to becoming self-employed changes your estate plan. Anytime your life changes dramatically, go in for a will consultation and update the stipulations.
- Denying the possibility of disability: You may be healthy now, but a disease, car accident or any other violent contingency can change that. In addition to planning for property transfer, you also need assistance managing your affairs if you become disabled. Estate appraisal also creates powers of attorneys or living trusts so you can choose an agent to handle matters if you lack the ability to do so. This is especially true if you have a business or property holdings (like a winery) that require your supervision.
- Leaving your estate utterly taxable: If an appraisal reveals you may die with a taxable estate, consider giving family members lifetime gifts to reduce its value. You can transfer $14,000 per year to individuals without them having to pay income tax. So, if a child wants help buying a home, consider helping with that down payment now. Also, putting your child’s name on the deed of a large home is just asking them to incur a big tax burden, so avoid that, too. Pay down your estate and do not allow transfers of large assets like real estate until after you die.
- Avoiding professional assistance: Estate appraisal in Maryland is not a task to do on your own. Hire an estate appraiser, and if you own valuable assets, find a good appraiser as well so the inventory of your estate and the value of items is clearly noted. You may save money by avoiding these expenses, but it will cost your loved ones more in the future.
Jane Campbell-Chambliss & Associates, LLC can be an essential element to your estate appraisal team by providing appraisals and property assessments. Call us today to schedule a consultation or have your estate appraisal attorney contact us for more information.