Who Needs an Estate Plan
Who needs an estate plan? Everyone. Many of us think we don’t need a will yet. But the reality is that the unthinkable can happen when we least expect it, and not planning for it can make a bad situation worse.
You may think it’s morbid to contemplate your own death. But it is unavoidable that some day all of us will die. Planning for that day is the epitome of responsibility, and the only way to control its aftermath. Benjamin Franklin said that nothing is certain except death and taxes. When they come to call, you want to bring as much certainty to the settling of your affairs and to your family’s protection as you have in your power.
You may think you’re too young for an estate plan. But if you have children, you need to plan for their care. If you pass on without leaving a spouse or a will with guardianship provisions, a court will appoint a guardian for your children and it could be someone you wouldn’t want. If you are over the age of 18, you need an Advance Medical Directive to state your end of life decisions in case you are unable to communicate for yourself. If an unexpected medical condition prevents you from advocating for yourself, others or a court may make those decisions for you and those decisions may not be consistent with your desires.
You may think your spouse will inherit everything no matter what. In reality when you pass on without a will, the state of Maryland imposes its will on you. Under Maryland law, your spouse may only inherit half of your assets through intestacy. If you have minor children, half of your estate will go to them. If you don’t have minor children, a significant portion of your estate will go to your surviving adult children or your surviving parents.
Some people think they can simply fill in the blanks of a form bought from the internet or the local office supply store. Such a document may cost very little. But you get what you pay for, and an amateur will can cause more problems than it solves. Problems at such a time can devastate a family already dealing with a heartbreaking situation. Remember, the best gift you can give your family is well-drafted estate plan, including a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney, and an Advance Medical Directive. It’s easy! All you need is a good attorney to help you.