The unexpected death of an employee doesn’t just cause a disruption in the workplace; it creates a domestic crisis. There is an estate which has to be administered and properly divided among the legal heirs. Estate administration is where some real problems can bubble up.
Not everybody thinks about wills and estates. A number of people will not prepare a will, thinking that because there are only one or two survivors the estate process will not be difficult at all. That isn’t true. Estates of those who die intestate, i.e. without leaving a will, must be handled by an administrator appointed by a public entity such as probate court and this person is under very close supervision (The duty of overseeing the administration of estates is performed by the Register of Wills in Maryland). An administrator is limited to what the law permits that person to do, and it is better to have an executor who is named in the will as the one tasked with administering the provisions of the document.
Anyone drafting a will should seriously consider what individual will be the executor. Unlike an administrator, the executor has both authority granted by law and additional powers granted by the will itself, allowing for greater flexibility in matters such as the sale of property. The executor does need to be somebody who is responsible and willing to take on the task. However, there is a lot of work in seeing to it a will is properly administered and survivors receive their allotted shares. A critical activity is to educate the executor beforehand and even prepare things so that his or her job is made as easy as possible. The challenge is that someone who is not well-versed in probate law does not quite know how to best instruct that very important person.
Companies can simply process whatever company life insurance the deceased has but that is a little bit too coldhearted and officious. It wouldn’t take much for any company to go one step further and help employees prepare for the possibility of an estate having to be properly administered and dispersed. A group legal benefit can put an employee in touch with legal counsel who is knowledgeable about probate. Such a professional can help advise on all that is necessary for a proper execution of the will and division of the estate. With the help of an experienced attorney affiliated with the group legal benefit, an employee can actually develop a plan of action that his or her executor can use. Knowing that what is left behind will be fairly administered can give any employee a great sense of relief.
Offering the chance to receive legal help in preparing an estate makes employees better appreciate their employer. Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services can assist any Maryland company in setting up a group legal plan which will allow employees access to expert advice in preparing wills and estates. Group legal premiums can be paid either by the individual, shared between the employer and employee, or paid entirely by the employer. Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services has experience in designing these benefits to guide an employer in developing a group legal plan that best fits the workforce, allowing for the best coverage practicable.
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