Fundamental points about estate planning
Estate planning may seem complicated and overwhelming to those who never explored the process. Perhaps the perception comes from being unfamiliar with the various steps and documents. After learning about estate planning fundamentals, the steps may become less daunting. South Carolina residents might even conclude putting together an estate plan required less work than initially assumed.
Estate plan fundamentals
On a fundamental level, estate planning involves someone setting forth their wishes. Upon writing a will, the testator chooses to direct asset distributions upon his or her passing rather than leave decisions to Maryland intestate laws.
Not everyone realizes that a will’s directives could involve more than asset distribution. Nor may they understand a will represents only one possible component of estate planning.
Anyone considering estate planning steps must understand Maryland law details what makes an estate document valid. While there are “do-it-yourself” estate planning documents online, they may exclude elements that make them legal. The inexperienced planner’s mistakes could also result in an invalid will or POA form.
Perhaps the planner wants more control over the assets after passing away. Setting up a trust supports this cause. Trusts also allow beneficiaries to possibly avoid probate. Assigning “transfer on death” beneficiaries to financial accounts lets heirs bypass probate, at least in part.
Other elements of estate planning
One misconception about estate planning laws is that the process only involves things occurring after death. In reality, numerous estate plans contain documents involving decision-making when the planner is alive. Financial and health care powers of attorney represent two examples of legal documents pertaining to a living planner.
Financial power of attorney forms allow an agent to make financial decisions on the principal’s behalf. Health care POA contracts let an agent make medical decisions in the event the principal is incapacitated.