Estate planning services from The Law Offices of Jane P. Sopher ensure that your family’s future is secure long after you pass away. We listen to your family’s needs, answer all questions, and provide the type of guidance you would expect from one of the best law offices in Maryland. We will then draft all of the documents required to implement your choices.
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What Is Involved in Estate Planning?
Last Will and Testament
Having a Will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for both yourself and your family. A Will ensures that your wishes are carried out. You can choose who will receive your property and who will not. A Will allows you to decide who will raise your young children in your absence, make donations to charities, and minimize estate taxes.
Keep in mind that you can always change your Will. Life circumstances such as marriages, divorces, births and deaths all can create situations where changing your Will may be necessary.
Powers of Attorney
In the event that you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself, Powers of Attorney delegate decision-making responsibilities to the person that you choose, guided by your wishes as authorized during estate planning.
Powers of Attorney can be effective immediately, when you sign them, or, they can be “Springing”, which means that they become effective only when a doctor determines that you are no longer competent. You can change the Agent that you select at any time by signing a new Power of Attorney.
There are several types of Powers of Attorney:
General Durable Power of Attorney: authorizes the agent to make all financial and medical decisions.
Statutory Financial Power of Attorney: designates another person to make financial decisions only.
Limited Power of Attorney: limits the agent to specific powers
Medical Power of Attorney: assigns a person to make medical decisions on your behalf. These powers can often be included in an Advanced Medical Directive (see below).
Advanced Medical Directives
Advanced medical directives require you to select an Agent to carry out your wishes for medical care. This may include:
Making medical decisions on your behalf when you are not able to do so.
Donating parts of your body for transplantation or scientific study
Comfort care instructions
Use of a ventilator and other medical interventions
There are many kinds of trusts. The most common are Revocable, Irrevocable and Testamentary trusts. Not everyone needs a trust; however, trusts can be very useful tools for many of our clients.
Many of our clients establish a Revocable Trust (also called a Living Trust) to allow a smooth transferring of assets to beneficiaries. Establishing this trust typically allows for more control and protection of your assets in certain circumstances. Additionally, a Living Trust may be effective in skipping the Maryland probate process altogether.
Of course, a Living Trust isn’t your only option. Some clients opt for a Testamentary Trust, which is included as part of an individual’s Last Will and Testament.
We will review your specific circumstances and concerns with you to help determine if a trustis best for you and your family.
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Let Us Help You and Your Family with Estate Planning