Some mistakes you get to take back; an estate plan is not one of them. Your estate is the sum total of what you leave behind for your family or beneficiaries, and its associated legal documents represent your final intentions for every asset you’ve accumulated throughout your life. Therefore, it is essential to avoid estate planning mistakes at all costs. Poorly organized estate plans can prevent your loved ones from receiving the endowments they deserve, and may lead to messy family disputes. Fortunately, legal help is available to guide you through planning and organizing your documents before it is too late. At Offit Kurman, estate planning is one of our team’s core specialities. Here are six perspectives from our attorneys on critical—but often overlooked—estate planning considerations:
Power of Attorney
What is the most important document in your estate plan? Despite a commonly-held belief to the contrary, it may not be your will, says attorney Joseph Mathis. Learn why financial power of attorney can make or break an estate plan, and Mathis’ advice for obtaining guardianship of a property, in his article on the role of power of attorney in estate plans.
As technology becomes more and more ingrained in everyday life, information is shifting rapidly from paper documents to electronic data. For a new generation, loss of online data such as banking credentials and photo collections is a real and pressing concern in the event of an unexpected death. Offit Kurman co-founder and estate planning attorney Maurice L. Offit has a few tips on what details to include in your estate plan to ensure your digital legacy.
Estate Planning for Singles and Couples Without Children
If you do not have children, do you still need to plan your estate? Attorney Steve Shane says yes, because he finds that single people and couples without children often leave complicated estates that require thorough planning. Find out what makes these estates so complex—and necessary—in Shane’s Weekly Scenario analysis.
No one escapes taxes, even after death. Fortunately, recent updated to the U.S. federal estate tax laws mean you can simplify your will to alleviate most estate tax concerns. Maurice Offit breaks down how tax rates and exemptions have changed for the better between 1997 and today, in his helpful write-up on why you should consider simplifying your will.
Assets That Do Not Pass Under Your Last Will and Testament
When preparing an estate, many people assume their last will and testament will take care of every one of their assets. You may be surprised to learn that’s not the case: in Maryland, only assets that are subject to probate pass under your last will and testament. Joseph Mathis discusses the distinction between probate and non-probate assets, as well as how to guarantee non-probate assets reach the right hands, in his recent post on the issue here.
What happens to your wine collection after your death? That’s the question Steve Shane faced in another Weekly Scenario installment, in which he explains the many uses of Purpose Trusts to handle specific assets such as a wine cellar, gun collection, and household pets. Looking for more estate planning information? Offit Kurman has published a free, downloadable guide to the most common estate planning mistakes. Click here to get the PDF.
About Our Estates and Trust Attorneys
Offit Kurman’s Attorneys At Law Estates and Trusts Practice Group is an experienced and trusted resource dedicated to helping you plan for the future and protect your assets. Our estate planning attorneys design personalized estate plans to help you minimize the burden of gift and estate taxes while protecting assets from the threat of potential creditors. Whether your estate and trust administration needs are sophisticated or basic, the estate planning attorneys at Offit Kurman tailor our asset protection planning services to meet your specific needs and objectives. If you would like to be in contact with one our attorneys regarding an estate planning matter please click here. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.