Having an estate plan in place can ensure that your wishes for your personal property, assets, healthcare, and minor children are met if you become incapacitated and when you pass away. Unfortunately, you never know when your health will take a turn. As a result, the best time to create your estate plan is now.
Estate plans consist of several legal documents. While your lawyer will help you determine the exact records to include in your plan, here are the six essential documents you’ll want to have:
A will is a document that details how you would like to distribute your property and assets after your death. This document can also appoint guardians for your minor children.
Without a will, the probate court will distribute your assets to a surviving spouse or divide them equally between your children. Having a will in place can ensure that your property goes to the right people and streamline the probate process after your death, removing some stress from your family members.
Beneficiary designations allow you to transfer assets directly to specific people regardless of the terms in your will. These documents can allow you to specify the people you will give property to and the amount or items you will give them.
Your estate planning attorney can help you determine when to fill out these forms and how they can fit into the rest of your estate plan.
Durable Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is a form that allows someone else to manage your affairs or make decisions for you on your behalf. When a power of attorney is “durable,” the authority continues even after you become incapacitated.
We always recommend creating a durable power of attorney for financial purposes as part of the estate planning process. Doing so can ensure that your money and property are in responsible hands if you ever become incapacitated.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Healthcare power of attorney is a form that allows another person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. These forms are important in cases where you can no longer make your own healthcare decisions but want a trusted family member to make them instead of an impersonal doctor.
Letter of Intent
If you have specific requests for property, funeral preparations, and other matters after your death, you will want to complete a letter of intent. Your estate executor will view this letter and ensure that its requests come to fruition.
Finally, if you have minor children, you should complete a guardianship designation form as soon as possible. This form can appoint a trusted family member or friend as your children’s guardian if you and their other parent pass away before they turn 18.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Estate Planning Attorney
If you have not yet started the estate planning process, now is the best time to begin. Contact the Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr., PC. today at 301-627-1000 to schedule your estate plan consultation.