Maryland and District of Columbia Estate Planning is for everyone, not just the elderly and/or rich. To many, “estate planning” is confusing, and “talking about death” is morbid and not necessary right now. To help alleviate some of the confusion and explain why “now is the time,” the experienced legal estate planners at the Law Offices of Thomas Stahl offer some answers to frequently asked questions about Estate Planning in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Q. What is Maryland and D.C. Estate Planning?
A. In general terms, Estate Planning is putting contingencies in place in the event of a tragedy. Estate Planning also creates plans and procedures in the event of you becoming incapacitated — such as falling into a coma or some similar medical condition. A simple Estate Plan creates a Last Will and Testament that will direct how your assets are distributed upon death. A Will is a legal document that goes into effect when you die. Other documents include financial and healthcare powers of attorney that give friends, family, and loved ones access to financial assets after death and can aid in the making of medical decisions. A more complex Estate Plan might involve the use of various trust instruments to avoid probate proceedings, help gift assets earlier in life, help lessen the tax burden on an Estate, etc. These types of Estate Planning instruments tend to become effective and begin operating while you are still alive.
Q. I am just starting my career; why do I need Maryland and D.C. Estate Planning?
A. Yes, it is true that Estate Planning is more often done in the later parts of one’s life and career. But sadly, tragedies can happen at any time. Further, if you have just married and have started a family, we absolutely recommend that Estate Planning steps be taken. There is now a family to consider, and you do not want them “left dangling” if something unexpected happens. Plus, Estate Planning is the method for leaving instructions for the care and upbringing of minor children if both parents die simultaneously.
Q. What happens if I don’t engage in Maryland and D.C. Estate Planning?
A. If you pass without a Last Will & Testament Establishing a Last Will & Testament or any other type of Estate Planning, your belongings will be distributed to your family as per the statutes of Maryland and D.C. Generally, spouses and children receive first, then parents, then siblings, then other relatives like grandparents, cousins, etc. Importantly, without Estate Planning, you cannot donate to your favorite charity or political cause through your Estate or purposely divest a relative from receiving your belongings after death.
Q. What is the right Maryland and D.C. Estate Plan for me?
A. What type of Estate Planning is right for you and your family depends on many factors. How many financial and other assets do you have? What are your desires for the distribution of your assets? Do you have family and friends that need financial protection after your death? Make an appointment with us, and we can help determine which type of Estate Planning is best for you.
Maryland and D.C. Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys
If you have more questions, contact the Maryland and D.C. trust and Estate planning lawyers at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. We have the experience and expertise you need. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD, and Washington, DC.