Nobody wants to think of what will happen to their possessions and assets when they are gone from this life, which might explain why an estimated 44 percent of adults have no estate plan in place. This is especially discouraging, considering the results of a survey performed in 2011 by LexisNexis show that a majority of adults believe estate plans are essential.
When an individual dies without an estate plan, his or her assets and belongings find their way into probate court. This prolongs the process of tying up loose ends and allowing survivors to move on with life. It also costs more, financially, than putting a simple estate plan into place early in life ever would. There are some easy steps involved with establishing an estate plan, beginning with finding a trustworthy attorney to take care of the entire process.
Have the attorney put together a will that divides assets upon death, as well as a living will that outlines medical interventions and treatments desired should the signer become incapacitated. Give someone loyal and trustworthy power of attorney over financial and medical affairs and set up revocable trusts to avoid the entire probate process if untimely death occurs. Above all else, make sure to have an estate valuation performed in order to ensure that the legal team chosen knows exactly how to proceed with tax payments, charitable giving, and other division of assets listed.
Above all else, make sure any estate plan put into place is kept up to date with names of spouses, significant others, children, and other family members who will receive assets. Be sure to keep in touch with an estate planning lawyer or firm in the Maryland area who will handle the case as life changes throughout the years.