While many individuals in Maryland and across the United States tend to put estate planning on their back burner, it's not advisable to do so. You leave your hard-earned assets up to chance by doing so. If you don't draft a will or come up with a succession plan for your business, then your loved ones may not receive what you intended to leave them.
If you've put off estate planning because you don't feel that you're rich or old enough to do it, then you're wrong. None of us can count on being alive the next minute, hour, day, month or year. What you own may be valuable to you and your heirs. Many don't realize that estate planning involves much more than passing homes and money on to your loved ones.
A health care directive and power of attorney are also two key documents that form part of the estate planning arsenal. The former allows you to appoint an individual to voice your medical care preferences if you're unable to do so yourself. The latter allows you to pick someone to stand in for you to handle financial and other affairs if you become incapacitated.
Even if all you know about the estate planning process is a will, then what you may not realize is just how important that document is.
It's there that you list who you've appointed as your personal representative. The person that you select for this role should be someone that you can trust to inventory your assets and to contact and pay off your creditors. They should also be someone that can prepare your final tax return for you. They should be able to locate and distribute your assets to your heirs per your wishes.
If you die without having a will in place, then you risk having your assets divided up according to Maryland's succession laws. This may lead to your assets being transferred to different individuals from who you intended them to go to. An estate planning attorney in Frederick can advise you what documents you may benefit from drafting in your unique case.