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What Goes into an Estate Plan?

An estate plan details how your money, property, and assets are distributed to your beneficiaries after you pass away. Despite preconceived notions, estate plans are not only for the rich. In fact, you don’t have to own a lot of property to have an estate. If you own anything at all, such as a car, you have an estate. But what exactly is in an estate plan, anyway?

Here are a few key things to include:

1. Last Will & Testament

A last will & testament is a written document that provides instructions for the disposition of property upon your death. A will also typically names someone to be your personal representative (or executor) to carry out your instructions, and names a guardian if you have minor children. A will only becomes effective upon your death, and after it is admitted to probate.

2. Power of Attorney (POA)

Also known as a POA, a power of attorney permits you to find a trusted person whom you authorize to handle your finances if you become incapacitated or unable to handle your own affairs. This person is referred to as your “agent” or “attorney in fact.” In many families, it makes sense for spouses to set up reciprocal powers of attorney. However, in some cases it might make more sense to have another family member, friend or trusted advisor who is more financially savvy.

3. Probate & Estate Administration

The death of a loved one is very unfortunate, but it’s something we all have to go through at some point. An experienced probate attorney can empathize with you and try to take as much off of your plate as possible to help you navigate through probate, which is the court-supervised process of gathering a deceased person's assets and distributing them to creditors and inheritors.

Often times the probate process is purely administrative, and since we’ve been handling these cases in both Maryland counties and the District of Columbia for almost ten years, we are able to efficiently move you through the process. There are times where the court needs to get involved and we are able to assist heirs to an estate who need probate hearings to:

  • Contest a will
  • Remove a personal representative who is not properly carrying out their duties
  • Ensure that all creditors are paid
  • Verify the distribution amounts to the heirs

Navigating through the probate process can be overwhelming, especially when you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one. We are here to help reduce your stress and make sure the process moves as quickly and smoothly as possible for you.

Schedule your complimentary information session by calling our Largo estate planning lawyers at (301) 281-4817.

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