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.
Think about your goals and your estate
Each person has unique goals when it comes to settling his or her final affairs, and this notion is logical because each person is different. You may want to determine whether your goals could include asset protection, charitable giving, planning for incapacitation or a number of others you may see fit. Other factors to think about in the pre-planning process include the following examples:
- Determine the loved ones you may want to include in your plan.
- Think about what protections your loved ones may need, such as guardians for minors.
- Consider any risks to your assets and learn how you could protect them.
- Assess whether you want to make charitable giving part of your plan.
- Inventory the assets you want to put in your plan.
- Reflect on how you would want your care handled in the event of incapacitation.
- Explore your insurance policy options, and obtain the coverage you may need.
- Find out whether your estate may owe taxes.
- Take into account any special needs of your loved ones.
Once you feel comfortable with the amount of pre-planning you have done, you may want to look into the various planning options available that could help you include the details of your estate and your desires into your plan.
Getting planning underway
When it comes to exploring planning tools and getting the planning process underway, you may not want to move forward on your own. An experienced attorney could help you understand planning options; explain how to create a plan that includes the terms you want and how to ensure that your wishes are legally binding. Estate planning can be complex, but pre-planning may help your process go more smoothly when the time comes.