With just a few clicks and online search, you can find a multitude of information about how to avoid estate planning mistakes. The most common one, according to the Caring.com 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study is not creating a will: Two-thirds of all adults in the US have not prepared this core component of an estate plan. Another major error is believing that you only need to be concerned with your final affairs, which completely disregards the numerous benefits of estate planning for incapacity and end-of-life care.
It is reassuring to know that these mistakes are avoidable through various Maryland estate planning tools. However, it can be difficult to understand your options and what you need if you do not have a legal background. A better way of grasping the importance of these documents is showing how they can solve problems and alleviate concerns about your future and legacy. You can trust a Maryland estate planning lawyer for details, but a summary is helpful.
Probate can be Costly and Time-Consuming
Fortunately, there are ways to trim down the assets that go through probate, and you may even be able to avoid the court proceedings entirely. For example:
● Any property you own jointly with someone else does NOT usually pass through probate; your interests pass to the survivors by operation of law. When possible, title real estate and other property as joint tenants with right of survivorship.
● With certain assets, you can name beneficiaries to receive the proceeds. A life insurance policy automatically goes the designated beneficiary without probate, and “Pay on Death” accounts operate in similar fashion.
Guardianship Proceedings are Expensive
Avoid the cost entirely by executing a Maryland Durable Power of Attorney, in which you name an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You can also complete a Financial Personal Power of Attorney to appoint someone to manage your real estate and personal property.
Without powers of attorney to handle medical decisions and manage property, your loved ones’ hands are tied. They can only get authority to act on
your behalf by going through the guardianship process.
You Have Concerns About Privacy
Both probate and guardianship proceedings are matters of public record, so you might seek estate planning options that keep your affairs confidential. One effective strategy is incorporating a trust into your estate plan, and structure it to work seamlessly with the other components.
Incapacity Prevents You from Communicating End-of-Life Wishes
If you suffer from a terminal illness or are in a permanent vegetative state, you cannot express your wishes on end-of-life care. A living will enables you to state what types of treatment, procedures, or life-sustaining measures you would like implemented – or withheld.
Set Up a Consultation With a Skilled Maryland Estate Planning Attorney
These are just a few of the problems you can solve with a well-developed estate plan, but the details will vary based upon your unique circumstances. To learn more about these and other options, please contact Francois Williams Legal LLC. You can call our office at (301) 358-0377 to schedule a consultation.