People work hard to provide for their families. However, they often forget or neglect to plan for their loved ones’ security after they die. Estate planning is sometimes put off until it is too late. If you die without a will or another estate planning document, your family and loved ones might not be treated how you would have wanted or expected.
Our Waldorf, MD wills and estates attorney has over twenty years of experience helping people plan for their death. If you have a spouse, children, or loved ones you care about, it is never too early to think about a will. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your estate planning goals.
The Importance of Wills and Estate Planning in Waldorf, MD
For people with significant assets, a spouse, or young children, estate planning should be a priority. Additionally, if there are people you love, or if you are in a romantic partnership with someone without the bonds of matrimony, neglecting to take the time to provide for your death might leave them without any rights or claims to the property you shared. Furthermore, if you wish to provide financially for your loved ones, dying without a will would leave them at the mercy of Maryland’s intestate laws.
Our Waldorf wills and estates attorney will thoroughly review your situation to advise you on what estate planning tools would help you achieve your goals and provide for your survivors. Beginning with taking a full inventory of your assets, property, and other financial holdings, our office will provide professional and experienced advice that allows you to plan for the future. Our familiarity with Maryland’s probate laws and the federal and state tax codes is invaluable in developing an estate plan that suits your unique purposes.
Drafting a Last Will and Testament in Waldorf, Maryland
When people think about providing for their family after their death, they typically think of a will. In its simplest form, a will expresses your wish regarding how your property should be distributed among your survivors. A more complicated will could include provisions for the guardianship of minor children and instructions for the upbringing. The testator, or the person who drafts the will, often provides detailed instructions for their funeral and burial.
For a will to be enforceable in Maryland, it must comply with a number of requirements. The document must be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses. Additionally, the testator must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old. If a will does not comply with Maryland law, then it might not be enforceable – leaving your family in confusion and the state in charge of distributing your property. Our Waldorf wills and estates attorney will help ensure that your will expresses your desires and complies with all applicable requirements.
An outdated will could be more problematic than having no will. If your circumstances have changed, which they are likely to do over the years, you should consider amending an existing will. Our office strongly advises drafting a new will when you have additional children, divorced, remarried, or have a substantial change in your assets or finances. When the terms of a will fail to reflect your current situation, your true desires will likely not be met.
Revocable or Living Trusts
A revocable trust is a powerful estate planning tool. It allows your heirs to bypass the probate process, which saves them both time and money. However, a trust works differently than a will. The property that is in a trust must be assigned. A trustee is then appointed to administer the trust. Because the trust is revocable, the grantor, or creator, is permitted to amend the document during their life. This is an essential tool in ensuring a trust will achieve your wishes as your circumstances change.
When the grantor dies, the trust becomes irrevocable. The appointed trustee will then have to administer the trust according to the instruction and provisions included. Depending on your wishes, a trust could strictly govern how your assets are distributed. For example, you might want to provide for your grandchildren’s education by selling specific real estate. The trustee would facilitate the sale and ensure that the proceeds would only be used for the education of your grandchildren.
What are Powers of Attorney?
Unfortunately, there are conditions other than death that can incapacity an individual, making it impossible for them to manage their financial and business affairs. A will or trust will not provide your family with the tools necessary to handle your matters. By creating a power of attorney, you appoint an agent to manage your financial and business affairs should you become incapacitated.
Our experienced Waldorf wills and estates attorney should assist you in creating a power of attorney. If the document fails to comply with Maryland law or does not have the required language to address all your financial needs, it might not be valid when it is necessary. You do not want your agent to run into unexpected legal roadblocks because your power of attorney was incomplete.
Advanced Medical Directives in Waldorf, MD
In addition to your personal property, you could also provide for your medical care through an advance medical directive. Through an advance directive, you appoint an agent to make critical medical decisions if you cannot.
Additionally, an advance medical directive clarifies your choices on the type of treatment, life-supporting efforts, and other medical matters. For those questions not explicitly addressed, your agent would have the authority to decide. This combination of instructions and granted authority should decrease the chances of arguments among your loved ones regarding your treatment.
Call Our Waldorf, MD Wills & Estates Attorney for a Free Consultation
There are many estate planning tools available. Knowing which one is best for your unique situation is never easy. Our Waldorf, MD wills and estates attorney has the professional knowledge and familiarity with Maryland probate laws to help you make the right decisions. If you are thinking about your estate plan, or want to amend what you have in place, contact the Maryland estate planning attorney at Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.