Once Maryland residents reach their 18th birthday, they should begin thinking about the possibility of death or incapacitation. While this thought may be morbid to them, taking this information into consideration may be able to ensure that their wishes are carried out at any age. An estate plan is more than just determining which or how much property goes to heirs & beneficiaries, but instead, it sets out a person's terms regarding his or her own life.
Anyone can become incapacitated. A young person may get in a car accident and be temporarily disabled or unconscious. For this reason, it is important to establish a durable power of attorney. This legal document allows another person to manage financial instruments and decisions for the incapacitated individual. Another important document to have in an estate plan is an advanced medical directive. This information may include statements regarding a person's preferences related to life-sustaining treatment and a grant of power to a designated person who can make medical decisions on behalf of that incapacitated person.
Other aspects of an estate plan depend on a person's family situation and whether or not he or she has material possessions. A will can help designate the individuals to whom property should go to so that intestate laws do not direct these possessions to other individuals. For example, a young person who is living with a partner but who does not have a will will most likely have his or her possessions transferred to his or her parents while the live-in partner will not have any claim to the property. A will allows a person to name the partner as the beneficiary. Wills are also important for parents because they name guardians for their children in the will.
Maryland estate planning lawyers may be able to help draft important estate planning documents. They may be able to draft wills, as well as trusts to set up a plan to provide income to loved ones after a person passes.