Hispanic residents of the United States may feel that estate planning is too complicated a process or does not apply to them. If you have worked hard to acquire assets and create a life for your loved ones, it is only logical to protect those assets. Unexpected events are bound to happen; However, it is alleviating to find that estate planning is well within reach.

Defy the Odds

A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health found that in the U.S. Hispanic population, less than half have completed an advance directive, one of the most significant estate planning documents. Further, the rates of advance directive completion by Hispanics has failed to see an increase in recent years, as opposed to other segments of the population. It is speculated that this lack of estate planning is a result of individuals entrusting their end-of-life care decisions to family members verbally, rather than through a written estate plan document. While it is important to let your loved ones know about your medical preferences, it is equally (if not more) important to have them in writing.

Why is an advance directive important?

Aside from the fact that an advance directive allows you to state your medical preferences, it also gives individuals the opportunity to appoint a representative to make important medical decisions on their behalf. Family members and loved ones may be at a loss when dealing with medical emergencies. Spare them the difficulty of making high-pressure decisions by making your wishes clear.

Defeat Uncertainty – Estate Planning is for Everyone

Many people begin the process of estate planning with little idea of where to start, and Hispanics may sometimes disqualify themselves altogether. Contrary to common belief, you do not have to own property, be a U.S. citizen, or be wealthy to have an estate plan in Maryland.

An person’s estate includes money in bank accounts, vehicles, personal valuables, and other belongings that can be passed on to beneficiaries. Estate planning does not only center on material items; medical treatment, guardianship, and pet ownership can also be included in an estate plan.

Secure Your Legacy

Many Hispanic families are first- or second-generation Americans. Those who have made the sacrifice to provide their family with comfort and stability know how important it is to set your family up for success at any available chance. Ask yourself, “How would my household be managed in my absence?”

Estate planning documents are a great way to make sure your assets are distributed in the way you see fit. A will, for example, allows a person to designate beneficiaries. Personal wishes and specific instructions for estate distribution can also be included in a will. If you have minor children and would like to withhold access to an inheritance until they are a certain age, a trust may be a viable option.

Culture, Values, and Ideals

In the event of an individual’s untimely death or incapacitation, the issue of guardianship may arise. Those with minor children must consider guardianship options when preparing estate planning forms. If there are specific customs and morals you would like the guardian to implement in childcare, this can be included in a will. Be sure to discuss guardianship and parenting with any potential confidants before adding them to your estate plan.

Set a Positive Example

A skillful approach to legacy planning is incredibly valuable. It is natural to shy away from discussing difficult topics such as death or medical incapacitation. However, planning for these potential situations will only benefit you and your loved ones, and will act as a model for those who have not yet secured their future plans. An estate planning professional can help ease uncertainty and tailor your estate plan to suit your individual needs.

For assistance with preparing wills, power of attorney, advance directives or other estate planning documents in Maryland, contact the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith LLC at 410-995-7719.