Your estate plan is one of the most important tools you have for managing your affairs, protecting your assets, providing for your family, and ensuring your legacy. It is not easy to contemplate death, particularly one’s own death, but it is an inevitable fact that we will all pass from this life. Although we cannot control when we pass from this life, we can control is what happens after we die by preparing in advance. Insurance and financial planning are critical to building and preserving wealth, but without the proper estate planning in conjunction with insurance and financial planning, the overall plan is incomplete and will lead to a breakdown between your expectations and the reality of what will happen after you pass away. Do not assume that your assets and funds will go to the people you want without a will. The intestate statutes of Maryland set very specific categories for the distribution of the assets of persons who die without a will or a trust. If you don’t plan ahead and make your own specific designations that are exactly what you want, then your assets will be distributed according to the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The good news is that you can avoid uncertainty and unintended consequences by simply putting your wishes in writing now. Structuring your estate and planning for the orderly transfer of your assets when you pass away will provide you with peace of mind now, and it will minimize the stress and anxiety on your family when you pass away. The preparation of a will, or a trust, along with an advance directive and a power of attorney, will name persons who will be responsible for managing your affairs when you are unable to do so and when you have passed away, and will give your personal representative, trustee, named power of attorney, and health care agent exact instructions as to your wishes regarding your health, finances, and estate.
There are three essential elements of a good basic estate plan: (1) a will, (2) an advance directive, and (3) a power of attorney. Your will dictates, among other important factors, who will receive your assets, determines the disposition of your mortal remains, provides for the guardianship of minors, creates trusts when necessary, and names the person or persons who will be responsible for administering your will and your estate. Your advance directive gives your instructions for how you want your end-of-life medical care to be administered. It contains a health care directive, also known as a living, will, and a health care agency which names a person to be your advocate for medical matters when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Your power of attorney names a person to handle your financial and personal affairs when you are unable to do so.
- Testamentary Trusts
- Pour-over Wills
- Advance Directives
- Powers of Attorney
- Revocable Trusts
We provide legal advice and representation in the administration of both probate and non-probate estates in Maryland as well as ancillary estates. If you have been named as a personal representative in a will, or a trustee of a trust, you will find that the professional advice and representation of our estate administration attorneys will make your job as personal representative or trustee much easier and less stressful. We can guide you through the probate process, or the trust administration process, prepare appropriate estate administration documentation, file those documents with the court, represent you in any proceedings at the Register of Wills or the Court, and assist you with appraising assets, accounting for the estate, and liquidating and distributing assets