There are many questions that need to be answered. Once all of those important questions have been answered, how do you put a plan into place that addresses all of your concerns?
A simple will can spell out who will get your property and who will raise your children if the need arises.
Trusts aren’t just for the wealthy. A simple living trust can minimize the involvement of the court system and the tax man.
An Advanced Healthcare Directive can spell out your preferences for medical treatment if you’re incapacitated or unconscious and can’t relay your wishes yourself.
If you’re incapacitated, someone will need to have access to your finances and make financial decisions on your behalf.
Pick someone who is financially savvy and that you trust fully to be your financial power of attorney.
Check your insurance policies and retirement accounts to ensure they designate the correct beneficiaries. Most states allow brokerage accounts to list beneficiaries as well.
File any necessary change forms if your beneficiary has changed since you first created the account.
Designate someone to handle any assets and monies your children will inherit, if they’re too young to manage the assets themselves.
Life insurance isn’t necessary for everyone, but it is important for certain people. Consider your situation and consult an expert if needed.
Estate taxes usually won’t affect most estates. They’re only an issue if your assets total over $5 million.
Funeral pre-payment plans have sometimes proven to be unreliable.
Most banks have a payable-on-death type of account that can be used to hold funds for funeral and related expenses.
There are life insurance policies that also exist for this same purpose.
Put a plan into place for what will happen to your business at the time of your death. Will someone else run it? Will it be sold?
Do you wish to be buried or cremated? Will you donate your organs? Put all information regarding your final wishes in writing.
Organize your documents and keep them together in a safe place.
However, avoid keeping documents your family will need right away in a safe deposit box at your bank. It might be sealed upon your death, preventing your family from accessing it.
Mr. Abraham is an experienced attorney and founding member of the Law Office of Richard K. Abraham. The Sparks, MD office of the firm concentrates its practice in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Guardianship, Asset Preservation and Fiduciary Representation.
He is an active member in a number of professional organizations that focus on law, the senior community, and estate planning. He works with clients in Central Maryland, especially in Towson, Hunt Valley, Lutherville/Timonium, Parkville, White Marsh, Bel Air & Northern Baltimore City.
Schedule a consultation to help you and your loved ones.