When you think of estate planning, you may think that it is something that only older people have to worry about. Well, unfortunately, that is not always the case. You really never know when you may be come incapacitated or pass away suddenly and under certain circumstances, age is not a factor at all.
There are several important documents that fall under the estate planning umbrella and consulting with an estate planning attorney may be valuable to you and that person can help you to navigate the process and to help you feel less overwhelmed by the entire experience.
The power of attorney
One of the important documents in your estate plan is the power of attorney, which allows you to assign control to another person while you are still alive but not able to make decisions on your own. In that situation, you are the “principle” and the person whom you have assigned responsibility is called the “agent.” The agent is allowed to carry out whatever is in the POA. If it isn’t in the POA, it is not allowed.
Once you pass away, the POA will end. If you wish to assign control to someone to handle your affairs after you are gone, you will need a will. Your attorney can help you to create your will if you are not comfortable with drafting it on your own.
With regard to your health care, you an assign another person to make decisions about your health if you should become incapacitated. The document is called an “advance directive” and is also known as a “power of attorney for health” and a “medical power of attorney.” You can appoint the other person by completing the form, having two witnesses as you sign, and having the document notarized.
Guardianship of minor children
You can also appoint a guardian for your minor children if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. There is a form for this and you will need two witnesses and the document will need to be notarized. If something happens to render you incapacitated, your appointed guardian will automatically take over for 180 days. During that time, the guardian must petition the court to be appointed as the long-term guardian. There is also a form for that.
Advice from a Maryland estate planning attorney
If you are planning, your estate and want to make sure that everything is complete, the expertise of an estate planning attorney can help you to put everything in order while protecting your rights and those of your loved ones so that your wishes will be respected and carried out.