Estate planning in Columbia, Maryland is simply the act of deciding what you want to happen to your assets after your death. It normally entails making plans about funeral arrangements, as well as plans for end of life care.
Typically, the first thing a person thinks about when they think about estate planning is a will. A will dictates what occurs to a person's property after they die. In general, you can leave your property to whomever you want, and attach almost any condition to such gifts. In the vast majority of estate plans, a will is the central component. It is rarely the only one, however.
Besides a will, a quality estate plan will contain a living will, which gives your doctors and relatives directions regarding your healthcare in the event that you become incapacitated, funeral arrangements, and instructions on organ donations.
Perhaps most especially, your estate plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your minor children, if you have any. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the person you intend to take custody of the children beforehand, to ensure that they are able and willing to provide proper care.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Columbia, Maryland?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some usual considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
Unmarried young adults typically don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are very sick or have an unusually large amount of assets, estate planning is not something to really worry about at this point in your life.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Columbia, Maryland is absolutely essential: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take many steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another massive group of people who would benefit from having a good Columbia, Maryland estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily contains facing some uncomfortable realities, it is essential and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Columbia, Maryland Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Columbia, Maryland can involve some difficult legal and financial issues, it is essential to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.