It is best not to procrastinate on important tasks that could be taken care of right away. Planning for estate administration is definitely one of these tasks upon which many people in Maryland make the mistake of procrastinating. This can create major problems for loved ones if something unfortunate and unexpected occurs. Without an estate plan, heirs may be forced to go through a lengthy probate process in order to settle one's estate.
One of the first things a person should do when creating an estate plan is to take an inventory of all assets. This should include property, interests in any businesses, investments, retirement savings, collectibles, insurance policies and sentimental items. After taking inventory of one's assets, it is time to specify which assets will go to which heirs. Also, one should choose guardians for any minor children.
In order to ensure that one's plans for administering an estate is fulfilled, it is important to draft a will. This legal document will put into binding legal language one's wishes concerning the distribution of assets after a person's death. The will also specifies an executor who will be in charge of implementing one's plans for asset distribution to intended heirs and beneficiaries.
However, it is important to make sure to carefully draft one's will in order to minimize the chances of the will being challenged in probate court in Maryland or in any other state. The same goes for all other estate administration documents, such as a trust or power of attorney. Understanding the relevant estate planning laws and how they apply to one's specific situation is essential for making sure estate planning documents are drafted properly.
Source: CNN Money, 10 steps to painless estate planning, Martha White, March 3, 2014