You may have seen several attorneys in your area advertising elder law practice. But what does elder law include? Elder law covers a suite of legal services geared toward an aging population with specific needs for designating beneficiaries and planning late-in-life care.
This article explains the essential functions of elder law for aging Americans. Read on to learn more about leaving an inheritance for your friends and family and how best to plan for long-term care.
Estate planning includes preparing your assets to pass on to beneficiaries after you pass away and planning for potential incapacity if you suffer a sudden injury or illness.
Wills and Trusts
Wills and trusts allow you to name beneficiaries for certain assets. There are some key differences between the structure and administration of your estate depending on whether you choose a will or a trust.
A will enters the public record during probate, making it easy for your inheritors to lose their inheritance to their respective creditors once they assume control of those assets. Probate can also delay your beneficiaries’ ability to claim their inheritance for approximately a year after your passing.
The trustee you choose to administer your trust is the only person aware of the terms outlined in your trust instructions. Trust assets also don’t enter probate, meaning your beneficiaries will receive their entire inheritance. Additionally, if you create an irrevocable trust, your assets have protection during your lifetime from creditors, lawsuits, and taxes.
If you suffer a sudden illness or injury that renders you unable to make or communicate your decisions, how will your family members know what you want? Advance directives include naming a durable healthcare power of attorney (HPOA) to make your decisions regarding care during your incapacity.
You can also create instructions for your care for your HPOA to follow under certain circumstances. For example, you may not wish to remain on life support if your healthcare professionals say that you suffered major brain damage and another doctor’s second opinion agrees with the prognosis.
Contact an Elder Law Attorney in Southern Maryland
For help with elder law issues in Southern Maryland, including estate planning and other relevant concerns, contact us at the Law Office of Ralph W. Powers Jr., P.C. in Upper Marlboro, MD. Call us at 301-627-1000 or contact us online for a consultation.