Estate planning is crucial for everyone regardless of your age or the wealth you’ve accumulated. Having a plan in place allows you to make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes once you’re gone.
Seeking an experienced estate planning attorney in Maryland can help you make sure your plan covers your needs and those of your family. There are some basic questions to answer to put a plan in place.
Seven steps for creating a plan
Inventory your assets: Regardless of whether you believe you have accrued enough assets, take time to make a list which includes:
- Property including home, land or other real estate
- Checking and savings accounts
- Stocks, bonds or certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Retirement plans
- Health savings accounts
- Collectible items such as art or antiques
- Other personal items
Protect your family: Think about what your family will need if you die. Ask yourself whether you have enough life insurance, name a guardian for your children and document your wishes for your children’s care.
Establish legal directives: These documents are essential should you pass away or become incapacitated and cannot make medical or financial decisions for yourself.
- Medical power of attorney and living will
- Financial power of attorney (limited or durable)
- Consider creating a trust
Review beneficiaries: A will may spell out how you want your assets distributed but may not include all updated information such as beneficiary designations for retirement plans or insurance policies. Also, name contingency beneficiaries in case your primary beneficiaries die before you do.
Be aware of Maryland’s estate tax laws: Estate planning can help minimize estate and inheritance taxes making sure more of your assets go to your loved ones or favorite organizations.
Revise your plan when necessary: Your life, income and wealth changes so your estate plan should reflect those changes, especially if you have another child, go through a divorce or lose your job.
Seek experienced legal help: The advice of an experienced estate planning attorney in Frederick can help you achieve your goals and provide you with greater peace of mind while you’re still here to enjoy the wealth you’ve accumulated with the people you love.