Almost every Maryland adult could benefit from some estate planning. If you have some family and some assets, it’s a good idea to create an estate plan. Even if you don’t have any assets of value, your estate plan can set directives for your medical care and name a guardian for your minor children.
Estate planning allows you to create a plan for distributing your assets so that you can provide for your surviving family members. When you have no estate plan, your assets will be disbursed through probate court according to intestacy laws. In many cases, intestacy laws do not provide an ideal distribution of assets because they don’t take unique circumstances into account.
You can use a last will and testament to dictate the basics of how you want your assets to be distributed. Remember to also update the beneficiary designations on your financial accounts, since they will override what’s written in your will. If you have complex assets or you want to keep your beneficiaries’ inheritances private, you may decide to create a trust. A trust can also be used if you want your beneficiaries to receive your assets in periodic dispersals rather than as lump sums.
Plan for incapacity
Another key part of an estate plan is planning for your own incapacity. People that reach old age sometimes experience a time in their life when they cannot make medical or financial decisions for themselves. If you have not created health care and financial powers of attorney, your family may not know what your wishes are. Setting up a plan ahead of time can prevent painful arguments and help ensure that your wishes are respected.