A new year is a great time to start fresh and implement positive changes that will enhance our lives. Many of us want to spend more time with friends and family, eat healthier, learn a new skill, or save money.  Creating or reviewing your estate plan may not be the first New Year’s resolution that come to mind, but it could be one of the most important steps you take to provide security for you and your loved ones.  

1. Establish a plan for your money and property by creating a Will or Living Trust. 

Have you decided who you would like to inherit your money and property when you pass away? If you do not have a written estate plan, your money and property will go to individuals specified in Maryland law instead of to the beneficiaries you choose, and it doesn’t all go to your spouse!  To specify who you want to inherit from you, you will need to execute a Last Will and Testament, which is a document that states how you would like your money and property to be distributed at your death and the individuals (or organizations if you would like to give to a charity) who you would like to receive it. Alternatively, many people create trusts to hold their money and property on their behalf and on behalf of their beneficiaries and which specifies when and to whom the money and property should be distributed. Trusts provide privacy because, unlike wills, the trust documents do not become public record during probate proceedings. In addition, a trust can protect your beneficiaries from unwise spending and creditors.

2.  Choose a guardian. 

If you are a parent, create a plan to ensure that your children are cared for if you or the other legal parent are unable to care for them by naming a person you trust to be their guardian. If you do not choose someone to serve as a guardian, a court will appoint someone for you—and it may not be the person you would have chosen.

3. Create medical and financial powers of attorney. 

If you are unable to communicate or make your own medical or financial decisions, your agent under a power of attorney can step in and make decisions on your behalf. Even if you are married, it is still prudent to appoint an agent to act for you because your spouse may not be able to step in for you depending on the situation. If you want your spouse to be your agent, you must have medical and financial powers of attorney prepared. This will help your spouse or other loved one avoid the expense, time and stress of having to go to court to be appointed as your guardian.

Let Us Help You Keep Your Resolutions

With help and guidance from our trusted tea, you can create a comprehensive estate plan that will fulfill all of your planning goals and provide you and your loved ones with substantial peace of mind. Don’t let the year get away from you. Please give us a call at 410-567-5500 to discuss how we can assist you in creating the best plan for you as you begin the new year.