Many wonder what happens if you die without a Will. Each state, including Maryland, has its own laws that determine what happens to the person’s estate. The differences between each state’s laws do cause confusion, and your assumptions about Maryland’s laws may be incorrect and can cause incredibly negative problems.
When someone dies without a Will, the rules governing the estate are called “intestate laws”. When intestate laws apply, the deceased person may be referred to as having “died intestate” and having left an “intestate estate”. Your state’s intestate laws serve essentially as your Will if your family cannot provide an actual Will. Maryland’s intestate laws are often not what most people expect. Continue reading “Not Having a Will in Maryland”
Many people desire to give gifts and bequests to friends or relatives with special needs. But to accomplish this wish the person must consider whether the gift or bequest will cause the beneficiary to lose their government benefits. Ensuring the beneficiary will continue to receive their government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may require that the person give the gift or bequest through a special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust.
When providing such a gift or bequest you intend to improve the comfort of the person with special needs, not relieve the government of its burden. However, certain government benefit programs require that the person be financially needy. If the person with special needs has assets in excess of $2,000, then the beneficiary will not qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). So, if you gave your child with autism $50,000, then their SSI, Medicaid, and other government benefits could stop and they would need to live on your $50,000 gift until their assets are back to being under $2,000. At the end of the day, the only one benefiting from such a gift would be the government. Because of this and similar issues, attorneys developed planning techniques by which the person with disabilities will receive the benefit of your contribution without losing their medical and other benefits.
Continue reading “Maryland Special Needs Trusts”
Please see my new page, Maryland Estate Planning. The page is a summary for those seeking basic advice regarding Maryland estate planning. This summary covers the most frequently asked questions and stresses my belief that most, if not all, people should consider some estate planning. I welcome any suggestions for additional content.
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