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Knowledge of parent's estate administration plans is important

Time spent with one's parents can be valuable for many adults, since growing up means having less free time to spend with their parents, especially if adult children have careers and families of their own to tend to. Therefore, talking about depressing subjects, such as the eventual death of one's parents is usually not on the top of the list for people when they visit their parents in Maryland or in any other state. However, discussing important aspects of the estate plans of one's elderly parents can prevent much headache and hardship during the future estate administration process.

One of the first things an adult child should make note of is a parent's personal information, which includes making a list of names of a parent's doctor, attorney, tax preparer, accountant and other important professionals which may need to be consulted upon a parent's death or incapacitation. Adult children should also know where their elderly parent keeps his or her Social Security card, marriage license as well as any other important personal documents. This information will be important if an adult child is required to make decisions after a parent dies or is incapacitated.

Another essential piece of information an adult child should inquire about is what legal documents exist as a part of the parent's current estate plan. These documents will serve as a guide to how assets should be handled upon a parent's death or incapacitation. Some of the most important legal documents are the will and the power-of-attorney. The will deals with how assets are distributed after death, while the power-of-attorney specifies who will be in charge of making financial and medical decisions when a parent is incapacitated.

However, if a parent in Maryland does not have any estate planning documents in place, it may be a good idea to suggest to the parent to begin creating an estate plan. This can make the future estate administration process more efficient and less costly for intended heirs. On the other hand, not just any template for or a will or power-of-attorney will do, since each situation is different and therefore requires different nuances when drafting these essential legal documents.

Source:, What You Should Know About Your Parents Affairs?, No author, Jan. 15, 2014

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