Who benefits from estate planning? Estate Planning is something anyone who has legal capacity should consider. Some people may only require a basic estate plan, such as powers of attorney for property and medical care. However, most people benefit from a more full-featured plan including a will (possibly a trust) and a living will.
What is estate planning? It involves taking a comprehensive look at your assets, liabilities, legacy and family to determine how to best achieve your goals. Most often this results in a set of documents (including a will) to ensure those goals are realized. But it is more than that. It also involves coordinating beneficiary designations on life insurance, IRAs, and retirement plans. It also includes planning for the possibility of incapacity. Increasingly, it involves planning for qualification for public benefits such as Medicaid or Veteran’s benefits as well as planning for a loved one who has special needs.
When should you complete an estate plan? As soon as possible. Estate plans can always be modified should your life circumstances or goals change. Dying without a will or trust will mean that your estate (everything you own) will be distributed according to Maryland’s laws of intestate succession. If you become incapacitated without a power of attorney, you may not have the trusted person of your choice making financial and medical decisions on your behalf.
Where should I go for my estate planning needs? Seeking the help and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney is essential. You do not want to take a chance on something this important by using online forms that may or may not be consistent with Maryland law. You also do not want to visit a general practitioner or attorney focusing on another practice area because Maryland estate planning laws are very complex. For an experienced, trustworthy and knowledgeable group of estate planning attorneys in the Greater Baltimore area, call Stouffer Legal today at 443-470-3599.