Creating an appropriate estate plan is a lot like getting into better shape. Everyone knows they should do it, but the task seems so daunting that many people put it off until it’s too late. Although creating an estate plan may sound complicated and intimidating, it does not have to be. For those in Maryland who may be wondering how to get started with estate planning, the following simple steps could prove beneficial.
Create a will
A will is something every person should strongly consider. If a person dies without a will, his or her estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This means the court will distribute assets according to state laws, and assets may not go to the intended heirs. A living will, also known as an advance directive, is something to consider as well. A living will provides instructions regarding the medical care a person wishes to receive in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated and cannot communicate.
Power of attorney
A power of attorney (POA) gives an individual legal authority to make decisions on the creator’s behalf. Consider designating a power of attorney for health care and also a durable POA to take care of finances. These can be the same person, although it’s not necessary.
With a living trust, the trust creator can benefit from the assets in the trust while he or she is alive but the assets are transferred to designated beneficiaries at death. A big benefit to a living trust is that property and assets in the trust do not have to go through probate and are passed directly to beneficiaries. This can save money and time for loved ones.
After going through the task of getting an estate plan in order, make sure to store these documents in a safe place so that POAs and executors know where to find them. An estate plan is beneficial for every family, regardless of economic status or age. Those in Maryland who have questions or want to know more about estate planning may want to consult with a legal representative. An attorney experienced in estate planning can help families protect and secure their future.