The Law Offices of Scott Alan Morrison, P.A.

Frederick Estate Planning Blog

Where should you store your estate planning documents?

You, like many other Maryland residents, may have put off estate planning for a considerable amount of time. Nonetheless, you finally took the important steps forward to create a plan so that your loved ones would not remain in the dark about your wishes and so that you could have control over what happens to your estate after your passing.

Of course, in order for your loved ones to know your wishes and for them to be enforced when the time comes, your documents need to remain protected but accessible. You may not know the best way to go about doing this, and some of your first instincts may not be the best.

When estate planning, avoid these missteps

When working to create an estate plan, many people understandably feel out of their element. You and many other Maryland residents may not know where to start or know what to include in your plans. Though this feeling is prevalent, you should not let it stop you from creating a comprehensive plan.

In fact, failing to create an estate plan is one of the biggest mistakes you or anyone else could make when it comes to getting your end-of-life wishes in order. Not only do you give up your ability to have a say in what happens to your estate after your death, but you also fail to give your surviving loved ones useful instructions.

Pre-planning can help your estate planning go smoothly

Creating the best estate plan for a given person's life can take a considerable amount of forethought. Before you even begin looking at the paperwork you may need to make your wishes known and legally binding, you likely need to consider what wishes you have.

While most Maryland residents know that they will need an estate plan to distribute their assets in the desired manner after their deaths, they may not realize that such plans can help achieve numerous other goals as well. In fact, identifying the goals of your plan is a wise place to start when it comes to estate planning.

Have you considered a letter of last instruction?

Lately, you may have had your end-of-life wishes on your mind more than usual. You may have recently lost a loved one and now feel the need to get your affairs in order, or you may simply want to ensure that your family won't wonder what you would have wanted in the event of your passing. Of course, you may not know where to start.

If you do not feel ready to jump into creating legally binding documents just yet, you can still start on your estate plan. A letter of last instruction may give you a useful place to start, as it can include any information you feel your family may need in order to settle your affairs.

Do I really need an estate plan?

When the rich and famous die without leaving an estate plan, it may seem unthinkable. In recent years, you may have heard numerous stories about celebrities who died with millions in assets but no will, leaving their loved ones the frustration of a prolonged and sometimes contentious probate.

If you are neither rich nor famous, you may feel there is no good reason for you to make an estate plan. This is a common misconception. Anyone who has any assets can provide security and guidance for their loved ones through appropriate estate planning. Without such a plan, your legacy may include family disputes and damaged relationships.

Choosing an executor may be good estate planning starting point

Getting your affairs in order at any point in your life can prove difficult, so when it comes to getting your final affairs and end-of-life wishes down on paper, you may feel immensely intimidated. However, you should not let this feeling deter you from actually moving forward with the estate planning process because not planning could have much more impactful negative repercussions.

If you do not know where to start when it comes to considering the many decisions ahead of you, you may want to consider an important but straightforward question: who do you want to act as your executor? The executor manages the tasks associated with closing the estate, which means that this person will have many responsibilities to address.

Do you have reason to update your estate plan?

When a major life change occurs, you may feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension. These changes can come in many forms, and what you may consider a significant change may not be considered such by someone else. Nonetheless, if you feel that an event in your life could have important impacts, you may need to address that event in certain ways.

If you have already created an estate plan, you have taken a beneficial step in preparing for your future. However, not updating that plan could cause issues, especially if you have experienced a life change. Though some changes may not warrant an update to your estate plan, you may still want to review your plan periodically and determine whether your current views are still reflected in the terms previously created.

Location and age could impact guardianship choices

Children fill life with excitement, joy and sometimes drama. Though certain situations may drive you crazy, you undoubtedly want to be there for every minute of it. Unfortunately, we never know what the future holds, and a serious accident, illness or other situation could take you from your children too soon. 

In the event that you can no longer care for your children, you certainly want someone you trust to provide for them. By creating guardianship appointments and stipulations as part of your will and estate plan, you can ensure that a responsible party will take over the care of your children. However, choosing the right guardian may have its difficulties.

Protect yourself from power of attorney abuse

There are many decisions to be made when making an estate plan, and many Maryland residents may find it difficult or stressful. Naming a power of attorney can be especially stressful for some. However, giving a person this responsibility, and instructions of when they are able to exercise the powers that come with it, could help to protect the estate planner and his or her property.

Does everyone need a will?

Many people living in Maryland have misconceptions about when they need to have wills written. They often believe that a will is not needed until they have acquired some level of wealth. However, there are more reasons to have a will than many people may realize.

  • Best Of The Best The Frederick News Post
  • Bar Association Of Frederick County, Maryland
  • NAELA National Academy Of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
  • Maryland State Bar Association Inc.
  • Washington County Bar Association , DC Bar
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