Estate planning is the process of involving counsel to plan the transfer of property upon death or incapacity.
If you die without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the dictates of the Maryland Laws of Intestacy. Your estate plan should accomplish two things. It should leave your property to whom you wish and it should do so at the least expense to you and your estate. An estate plan can involve such things as life estate deeds, beneficiaries on bank accounts, Wills and Trusts. Your estate plan can be relatively simple such as leaving things equally to your children. On the other hand, your estate plan can be complicated involving Trust and even Special Needs Trusts.
For my clients, I recommend three things for your estate plan. First, a Will or Trust to designate how your estate is to be distributed after your death. Second, a Financial Power of Attorney so that a person you trust can make financial decisions for you, if you are unable. Third, an Advance Medical Directive, that documents your treatment wishes and the person to deal with the physician if you are unable to do so yourself. With these three (3) legal documents, your estate plan will be comprehensive. If you need Trust planning for financial or personal reasons, I can also offer those services. A Trust can be revocable or irrevocable, testamentary or intervivos. This means you can set up a Trust that takes effect upon your death or while you are living.