Annapolis Estate Planning Attorney
Basic Estate Planning Package
This is what the majority of people only need. Basic Maryland and DC statutorily compliant estate planning package include:
1. A Will (where the “Standby Guardian” is appointed.)
2. A Financial Power of Attorney
3. A Health Care Directive
4. A Consultation
5. Advice over phone for a reasonable time
Scott MacMullan Law, LLC has experience drafting these Maryland estate planning packages and is responsive to clients with a customer service focus. Scott MacMullan is also active in the Wills for Heroes Program, a program that helps firefighters and police officers with their estates.
Estate Planning 101
You might have asked yourself why you should go through the trouble of planning your estate and writing your will. Estate planning pays in the end–in results achieved, in dollars saved, and insecurity and peace of mind. An estate plan is your blueprint for where you want your property to go after you die.
Estate planning allows you to determine what happens to your property. It allows you to figure out who will be in charge of carrying out your wishes. Moreover, it allows you to save money on probate, taxes, and other expenses typically associated with settling a person’s affairs after death. Also, a living trust can provide a way to manage your property should you become disabled. Tax laws provide significant incentives to save for education, making estate planning an ideal opportunity to plan for the education of children and grandchildren. Finally, if you would like a family business to stay within the family, your estate plan can specify who will run it.
A will is not necessarily all you need. Will substitutes such as pensions, life insurance, gifts, joint ownership, and trusts are just a few of the ways you can transfer property at or before death quickly and inexpensively.
An estate plan can make it easier for your beneficiaries when you die. There are ways to make sure your beneficiaries receive your property promptly when you die. Estate planning can also minimize expenses by keeping the cost of transferring property as low as possible. An example of this is choosing a competent executor and giving the executor the necessary authority to carry out your directives can simplify the administration of your estate, which may save time and money in the long run. Finally, if you have minor children, an estate plan enables you to designate the best available person to care for them after your death. Through a will, you can nominate a legal guardian for your children and name an executor to handle the distribution of your estate to your designated beneficiaries.
You may also name a guardian of property left to your children who is separate from the guardian who raises your children. For example, if there is someone that you trust more to manage the money for the best interest of your child who is separate from someone you trust more to raise the children. In other words, there is a money handler who is separate from someone you are more comfortable with your kids.
An estate plan can help reduce your taxes on your estate. This is particularly important when your estate approaches the estate tax exemption amount. (In 2013 it is $5 million.)
An estate plan is not just for older people. Many young and middle-aged people die suddenly or become mentally or physically incapacitated. An estate plan can be made to anticipate both of these events.
You should not put off planning your estate. The time to plan for death or disability is when you are healthy. People tend to make bad decisions when coping with mental or physical stress, strain, or illness. A deathbed will, one made by someone whose mental competence is questionable, may invite a legal challenge. Do not put off planning your estate until your estate reaches a certain level or value. Even if you don’t have as many assets now as you want someday, it’s easy to update the plan every few years as your assets and life circumstances change. Contact Scott MacMullan Law, LLC for further assistance at 443-494-9775.