Many people want their loved ones to have financial security after their death. When you want to protect your assets and ensure your family inherits everything you have earned and accumulated, you need an estate plan.
Estate plans are not just for the wealthy. Even a person of relatively modest means can help themself and their family by working with an experienced attorney to plan for the future. A Largo estate planning lawyer can review your goals with you and suggest ways of preserving your property for the benefit of your heirs after your death.
Purposes of an Estate Plan
Many people believe estate planning is about maximizing wealth and avoiding taxes. While these may be some of the goals of an estate plan, the more fundamental purpose is to allow someone to preserve control over the assets they worked hard to accumulate.
An estate plan allows a person to make significant decisions and formalize them, so the courts recognize and honor their choices. Unless a person has a document designating their choice, state law determines who can make decisions on behalf of someone who is incapacitated. Without an estate plan, the state’s intestacy laws determine who inherits the property of the deceased and how much they must pay in taxes. These one-size-fits-all statutes might not reflect the decedent’s wishes—but a compelling estate plan can help mitigate this issue.
A comprehensive estate plan can also provide protection if the person creating the plan becomes disabled or mentally incapacitated. A well-crafted estate plan can employ legal tax minimization strategies to preserve as much wealth as possible for the people and organizations the decedent designates. A seasoned Largo attorney can help draft an estate plan that achieves all these goals.
Developing an Estate Plan
An experienced lawyer in Largo recognizes that everyone has unique goals, desires, and challenges to address when creating an estate plan. Our legal team will devote time and attention to understanding an individual’s needs and customize a plan that suits their particular situation, typically using multiple documents to accomplish their goals.
A will is an essential document for every adult. A will directs how the decedent wants their assets distributed and designates a person to administer the estate. In addition, a parent can use a will to name guardians for their minor children.
Living Wills and Advance Directives
A living will—also known as an advanced directive—is an important estate planning document that assigns someone to decide on medical matters if the author of the document should become incapacitated. This document can describe someone’s preferences regarding specific medical interventions as well as grant permission for medical personnel to inform and update the designated decision-maker about their physical condition.
Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a vital estate planning document that allows someone of the author’s choice to make financial decisions for them should they become incapacitated. Maryland Code Annotated, Family Law § 17–202 outlines the format and rules of this document. The person who holds a power of attorney can access the author’s bank account and sell their property; they may be restricted from performing certain actions, however, depending on how the power of attorney is written.
Life insurance policies deposited in an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can provide capital to heirs without going through probate. They can be excellent estate planning tools in certain situations. Our legal team can help someone implement an irrevocable life insurance trust.
In general, trusts can preserve assets for a beneficiary’s benefit and often protect property from taxes or creditors. There are multiple kinds of trusts, with each helping accomplish a specific goal. A hardworking attorney in Largo can discuss the risks and benefits of different forms of trusts during an estate planning conversation.
Create a Workable Estate Plan With a Largo Attorney
Estate plans are not generic: Each plan requires specific documents to achieve the maker’s desired purpose. If you try to draft these documents without the guidance of a dedicated attorney, you might encounter unexpected roadblocks.
Thankfully, a Largo estate planning lawyer has the knowledge and expertise to help you reach your goals, protect your loved ones, and preserve your assets. Call today to speak with a seasoned legal professional.