The major steps for developing an estate plan with an attorney typically include:
- Initial consultation: During this meeting, the attorney will gather information about the client’s assets, debts, family situation, and any specific goals or concerns they may have regarding their estate. Interested in scheduling a meeting? We can meet with you on Zoom to review your existing needs and direct you to resources on our secure website to complete your estate planning by clicking here.
- Analysis and planning: The attorney will use the information gathered during the initial consultation to develop a plan that addresses the client’s goals and concerns. This may include recommending the creation of a will, trust, power of attorney, and/or advance healthcare directive, each of which can be purchased and completed through our online secure website.
- Document drafting: Clients can purchase and fill in the information needed to prepare your legal documents, as needed. Documents are reviewed by an attorney and finalized for each Client through our secure website.
- Review and execution: Final documents are provided to each Client through our secure website. The client will then execute (sign) the documents. Please note that most estate planning documents require two witnesses, and the power of attorney documents require that the principal and agent signatures be notarized by a Maryland Notary. You can find a list of Notaries near you on the Maryland Secretary of State website.
- Ongoing review: Keep in touch with us if your situation or estate goals change so that we can advise you on any needed changes to your plans.
The typical documents that would be created after consultation with an attorney include:
- Will: A legal document that states how the client’s assets will be distributed after they pass away. A properly drafted and exectured will provides for an orderly distribution of property to survivors of a testator. In the absence of a will, the law of the place where the person has died will generally determine how that person’s property will be distributed. Having no estate plan, or an estate plan that is incomplete, can lead to surprises, challenges for survivors, and litigation, making the grieving process that much more difficult for survivors. Having a plan is a good plan. To read more about Maryland wills and some common estate problems that arise without a properly drafted will, read this article.
- Trust: A legal arrangement that allows a third party (the trustee) to hold and manage assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, such as minimizing taxes or protecting assets from creditors.
- Power of attorney: A legal document that gives another person the authority to make financial and legal decisions on the client’s behalf.
- Health Care Agent Appointment and Advance healthcare directive: A legal document that states the client’s wishes for medical treatment if they are unable to make decisions for themselves.
- Other Documents. Business owners may have special needs depending on the nature of the business entity, the owner or owners of the business, and the plans for the business should an owner die. Set up a consult to discuss your situation.To read more about estate planning for your small business, read this article.