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Estate plan can help to ensure family's financial security

People naturally prefer not to talk about death, which is why estate planning is not high on people's list of priorities. However, an estate plan is essential for ensuring one's family's financial security in the future. A few tips may help people in Maryland to complete well-thought-out estate planning.

First, it is essential for people to have some basic documents in their estate plans, including a revocable living trust, living will, health care power of attorney, durable power of attorney and will. It is also critical to keep one's spouse updated on critical information, such as passwords and where they can be found. Furthermore, if one spouse mainly handles the family finances, it is best for him or her to include the other party in the process so that both parties are knowledgeable about the finances.

It is also important for one to be transparent and open with family members about one's assets. This includes being clear about which assets are to be passed on to one's spouse directly upon one's death and then which assets are to be transferred due to beneficiary designations. Reviewing one's beneficiary designations for retirement plans, such as IRA accounts, is critical as well. If a previous spouse rather than one's current spouse is listed as a beneficiary on an IRA, this person will end up getting the funds in that IRA after one dies.

When it comes to estate planning in Maryland, planning early and being detailed is critical no matter how old or young a person is. After all, death can strike at any moment. Proper legal guidance may help a person to draft an estate plan that sufficiently meets his or her needs and reflects his or her wishes.

Source:, "How to prepare for loss of a spouse", Mark Daly, Nov. 28, 2016

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