Germantown Estate Planning Lawyers Providing Legal Services and Advice for Clients Looking to Leave a Legacy
It is easy to understand why estate planning is one of those things many people would rather not talk about. Thinking about what life will be like for your loved ones after you pass away can be scary and rather unpleasant, which usually results in procrastinating or avoiding the subject of estate planning altogether. The truth is avoiding the subject may be doing more harm than good, as a lack of proper planning may mean your loved ones could end up struggling financially after you can no longer provide for them. Our attorneys explain what estate planning can do to protect your legacy and assets for the next generation, and why you should consider working on your plans sooner than later.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a way to help determine what will happen to your assets after you pass away, how they will be distributed to the next generation, and may help protect your wealth from threats such as debt collectors or excessive taxation. Your estate plans are several documents and tools that work together to protect your assets and keep an official record of your wishes.
When properly written, your estate planning documents can even accomplish other important things, such as ensuring a loved one with special needs is cared for financially without losing his/her eligibility to receive government benefits. Another popular goal of estate planning documents is to avoid putting certain assets through probate and distributing those assets directly to your beneficiaries.
What many people overlook is the fact that you may include several documents in your estate plans that can record your wishes for how you want to be treated while you are still alive but incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. You can also include provisions for who should take care of your minor children if you pass away, and even who should become the new owner of your pets in that situation. All of these are important decisions that may be left up to a judge if you were to pass away without having any estate planning documents in place.
How Can Estate Planning Help Preserve My Assets?
Estate planning serves multiple purposes and may work slightly differently for every person, depending on the complexity of your estate. In general terms, estate planning can serve three main purposes – preserving your assets and determining how you would like them to be distributed after you pass away; recording your preferences for medical care and assigning someone to be your agent (and making medical decisions on your behalf) should you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated; and it may also help you make financial plans for long-term care to make sure you get the care you need without completely draining your wealth.
In addition, some may find it advantageous to use estate planning tools such as living trusts to avoid going through probate, minimizing their potential exposure to taxes, and/or having better control over how their assets are distributed – and who gets what. The right estate planning documents and tools can do a lot more than simply recording your wishes for who should inherit your assets, as it can also ensure you receive the care you need while you are still living, protect your finances by planning for long-term care expenses, helping you and your heirs avoid taxes and keep more of the wealth you worked so hard to build and much more.
Who Should Consider Estate Planning and When Should They Begin?
It has become quite a cliche scene frequently played on TV and movies – a wealthy family member has passed away, and the family gathers at the decedent’s mansion and eagerly awaits to hear their relative’s lawyer read the will so they can find out what they will inherit. Unfortunately, this scene also depicts what many believe to be true: estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, this view could not be further from the truth.
Estate planning is an important step for anyone – regardless of their age, gender, marital status, or income levels. Everybody should consider having at least a will and a power of attorney if they don’t own a lot of assets or have a modest income because, without a will, a judge will need to decide what happens to everything they own – from personal belongings to bank accounts and even pets. Estate planning is fundamental no matter if you are a new college graduate, a newlywed starting a family, or are thinking about retiring and enjoying your better years.
Why Should I Work With a Maryland Estate Planning Attorney?
The estate planning process looks different for everyone. For some, it may be as simple as drafting a will and a power of attorney document. For others, it may require a bit more work, and it may be necessary to use estate planning tools such as living trusts to better manage their assets and safeguard them for the next generation. By consulting with an estate planning attorney, you can get knowledgeable insights to learn which estate planning documents are right for you.
Your attorney can also take care of writing those documents and making sure that they are correct, legally valid, and will work as intended when the time comes. Estate planning has no one-size-fits-all solutions, and working with an attorney is the only way to be completely confident you are making the right choices for your future. At Paré & Associates, LLC, our estate planning attorneys provide personalized services for clients in Germantown, MD, who wish to take the right steps to preserve their legacy. Call Paré & Associates, LLC today at (301) 515-1190 to schedule a free consultation.