Reasons To Start Your Maryland/D.C. Estate Planning Now

Real estate inheritance concept

Here at the Law Offices of Thomas Stahl, our Maryland & DC estate planning attorneys believe that everyone should be engaged in estate planning at the early stages of their lives and careers. Estate planning in Maryland and the District of Columbia is not just for the wealthy or for those nearing retirement. Maryland/D.C. estate planning includes many things like:

  • Establishing a Last Will & Testament (and keeping it up to date)
  • Making conscious decisions about beneficiaries to be listed on financial instruments like retirement accounts
  • Creating various types of trusts (like a revocable living trust) for tax, estate, and other purposes
  • Establishing guardianship documents and preferences for minor children
  • Deciding how to have various assets — like real property — titled (such as in fee simple, joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety, etc.)
  • Deciding to create jointly-owned financial accounts or pay-on-death accounts, etc.
  • And more

Here are some top reasons for starting your Maryland/D.C. estate planning now. First, sadly, the unexpected and tragic happen. If you have established your estate plan, YOU decide where your assets go after death. Maybe you want to donate to your favorite political or social charitable organization. Without estate planning, that will not happen.

Second, along the same lines, without estate planning, someone other than you — like a Maryland/D.C. probate judge — decides who gets your assets after you die. Without a Will, for example, members of your family will receive your assets per the laws of Maryland and D.C. But, maybe you do not want certain family members to receive any of your property. You can only accomplish that task by having a good estate plan.

Third, estate planning allows you to plan and avoid post-death financial uncertainty for your loved ones. Death can be traumatic enough — particularly if it happens suddenly. Without an estate plan, your loved one may not have immediate access to financial accounts to pay bills and funeral expenses. As noted above, this can be done by creating jointly-owned financial accounts which have automatic survivorship rights. Such financial accounts become the property of the surviving owner immediately without the need for probate or other legal proceedings or, for that matter, providing documents to the financial institution. By having such accounts, your loved ones have immediate financial resources in the event of an unexpected death.

A good estate plan can also be used to help avoid unnecessary fees and expenses related to probate and can help limit excessive “death taxes.”

The most important reason to begin your estate planning now — while you are still in the prime of life — is to make estate planning routine and normal. Creating your own estate plan early in your life means that estate planning decisions are “easy” and efficient. If, for example, you create a revocable living trust, as you acquire and dispose of assets, those are just routinely — and easily — titled in the name of the trust. This applies equally as well to trading accounts, debt and financing vehicles, business ownership units, and more. A lot of the “hassle” is removed since you have been “doing” estate planning most of your life. The same is true for more common estate planning decisions like how to designate beneficiaries for life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

There are even more reasons to begin your Maryland/D.C. Estate Planning now. Contact us for a consultation.

Maryland and D.C. Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys

If you are thinking about establishing a trust or need estate planning documents drafted, 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.

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