Take Control of Your Future with an Estate Plan

2019 is coming to a close and the new year is in clear view. Consequently, it is the perfect time to reflect on our goals for the year to come. Each individual has different priorities concerning emergency medical treatment, asset distribution, and end-of-life arrangements. Take control of your future by creating a well-rounded estate plan. The best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is that of reassurance.

Did You Know?

Individuals who die without an estate plan in place (also referred to as “dying intestate”) do not have a say over the distribution of their assets. Instead, intestate law determines this. Intestate law varies by state, and generally favors spouses and blood relatives as legal heirs. You may disagree with these provisions for a medley of reasons. Perhaps, you would like your unmarried partner to inherit your assets. Or, you may prefer friends, rather than family members, to be your designated beneficiaries. A custom estate plan should certainly be a priority if your preferences are at odds with intestate law.

Choosing Trusted Parties

One important element in creating your estate plan is choosing the people responsible to carry out your wishes. The executor of your will is tasked with managing assets and estate distribution after your death, along with ensuring that the provisions in your will are met. A power of attorney document allows you to select an agent who will make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Similarly, you may choose a healthcare agent via an advance directive document, who will make medical decisions that fall in line with your preferences.

You may select the same person to act in each of the aforementioned capacities. Alternately, you may feel that different people are more suited to each position. In any event, it is important that these individuals are aware of the responsibilities of their role and that you trust them to meet your requests.

Business Owners

Estate planning is particularly important for entrepreneurs. Small business owners can protect their company by creating a business succession plan. A business succession plan enables an individual to arrange for a transfer of ownership and management upon the business owner’s death or incapacitation. This can mean keeping the business within the family or selling the business to another entity via a buy-sell-agreement. Having dedicated a great deal of time and effort into a business, it is essential to make arrangements for the years to come. Do not leave your future up to fate; Now is the best time to begin estate planning preparation.

Information in this article is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to constitute legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for help with your specific situation.

Estate planning can be an empowering journey that leaves and your loved ones at ease. For assistance with creating or updating an existing Maryland estate plan, we invite you to contact the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC at 410-995-7719.