The term “estate planning” refers to the preparation and execution of a set of documents, typically including a Last Will and Testament, financial power of attorney, and advance medical directive. These documents allow you to make your wishes regarding asset management, health care decisions, and the disposition of your estate known, and binding, on your friends and relatives.
Estate planning is not a right reserved for the wealthy or the dying. Nearly everyone can benefit from having these documents in place to protect their wishes. Without the appropriate documents, Maryland law will dictate how your assets will be managed, possibly requiring a guardianship proceeding before the court; the extent to which life-sustaining treatment will be provided; and how your estate will be distributed, the outcome of which is often drastically different from what you may have wanted.
The importance of a properly drafted and duly executed Last Will and Testament cannot be overstated. Whether you are single, married, with or without children, eighteen or eighty-five years old, a Last Will and Testament will ensure that your property is distributed as you would like. A Will also permits you to take advantage of estate tax planning opportunities, through the use of certain testamentary trusts.
In addition to directing the way in which property will be distributed, a Will permits parents of minor children to nominate who will serve as guardian of the person and property of their children in the event of the death of both parents.
While the thought of contemplating these issues may be unpleasant, avoiding them can cause stress and discord among your loved ones. Hammond Law can evaluate your circumstances and can identify tax planning and asset preservation techniques that may be incorporated in your estate plan to protect your legacy. We can review your personal situation in detail and help you to craft a comprehensive estate plan to ensure that your wishes are known, both during your life and beyond.