What is Estate Planning and Why It Matters

Estate planning is what some may consider a necessary evil. It can be very uncomfortable to think about, let alone discuss, how you would like your assets distributed after your passing. When you factor in heavier decisions, like who takes guardianship of any minor children, or who takes over your business, it is no wonder many people delay or neglect proper estate planning altogether.

Aside from the overall discomfort, many forego estate planning because they simply do not understand its importance. According to a recent study, only forty-two percent (42%) of Americans have estate planning documents in place.

In this article, we will explain what estate planning is, why it is so important, and how to get started.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of preparing how you would like your assets distributed upon your death or incapacity, and documenting your desires as it relates to end-of-life medical care. It is a fairly common misunderstanding that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy. Actually, everyone who owns property, has money in a bank account or owns personal items has an estate and should plan for its orderly distribution.

Aside from determining who receives what from your estate, an estate plan may also contain crucial components that could keep your loved ones from having to make complex decisions for you, such as:

  • · Naming guardians for any minor children
  • Naming administrators of your estate in the event of incapacity or death

Why is Estate Planning So Important?

Estate planning has many benefits irrespective of estate size or personal circumstance. Almost everyone can benefit from having estate planning documents in place that speak to their personal needs, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Trust
  • Advanced Medical Directive

Having your documents prepared by an experienced Maryland Estate Planning Attorney will greatly decrease the chances that your estate will be subject to the probate process, which can be both emotionally and financially draining.

Business Succession Planning

Not only is comprehensive estate planning important for families, but it is vital that Maryland business owners have a strategy as well. In 2014, Maryland small businesses employed 1.1 million people – which accounted for a little over fifty percent (50%) of the private workforce. With those numbers, it is safe to say that regardless of whether you have been in business for twenty years or two, creating a succession plan is important. When establishing your business’ succession strategy, here are some points you should consider:

  • Identifying your team of core advisors
  • Determining whether family members desire to and are qualified to run the business
  • Identifying key employees to help run the business
  • Determining a schedule of when and how the business will transition to your successor
  • Incorporating your personal estate plan around your business succession plan

Many business owners fail to establish a succession plan in advance. Unforeseen illness or death of an owner can throw a company into an unrecoverable, downward plunge. A solid succession plan can detail what to do in the event of an owner’s untimely death or incapacity.

Contact Us

Having an experienced estate planning attorney can ensure that your wishes are outlined appropriately under Maryland law. The Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC can assist by drafting estate planning documents that secure your assets, honor your wishes, and safeguard against the public Maryland probate process. Contact us today in our Annapolis Office at 410-995-7719, in Laurel at 301-358-4340 or visit our website at elsawsmithlaw.com to learn how we can protect you, your family and your business.

New Office Opening in Annapolis

We are pleased to announce the expansion of our law firm to the city of Annapolis, Maryland.  Our main office is located at 14502 Greenview Drive, Suite 300A, Laurel, MD 20708.  Starting March 1st, our second office will be located at 1125 West Street, Suite 200, Annapolis, MD 21401.

At the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, we believe that successfully addressing client needs requires more than just knowledge of the law and a mastery of the multitude of rules and regulations that impact our clients’ interests.  Our commitment to excellence, combined with our mission to deliver outstanding client service, has earned our firm the excellent reputation it enjoys today.  The Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith is a minority and woman-owned business with an honest reputation and a tradition of aggressive representation.

The Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith provides quality legal representation in the areas of Criminal Defense, Family Law (with emphasis in Special Immigrant Juvenile cases) and Personal Injury cases.

Anuncio de Nueva Oficina – Annapolis

Estamos encantados de anunciar la expansión de nuestro bufete de abogados a la ciudad de Annapolis, Maryland. Nuestra oficina principal está ubicada en 14502 Greenview Drive, Suite 300A, Laurel, MD 20708. A partir del 1 de marzo, nuestra segunda oficina estará ubicada en 1125 West Street, Suite 200, Annapolis, MD 21401.

En las Oficinas Legales de Elsa W. Smith, creemos que abordando con éxito las necesidades del cliente requiere algo más que el conocimiento de la ley y el dominio de la multitud de reglas y regulaciones que afectan los intereses de nuestros clientes. Nuestro compromiso con la excelencia, combinado con nuestra misión de ofrecer un servicio al cliente excepcional, ha ganado a nuestra firma la reputación excelente que disfruta hoy. Las Oficinas Legales de Elsa W. Smith es un negocio propiedad de mujer y minorías con una reputación honesta y una tradición de representación agresiva.

Las Oficinas Legales de Elsa W. Smith proveen representación legal de calidad en las áreas de Defensa Criminal, Derecho de Familia (con énfasis en casos especiales de Inmigrantes Juveniles) y casos de Lesiones Personales.