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Estate planning is something which should be started sooner rather than later. Even those who are not wealthy may still want to create a plan to deal with estate administration in case something unexpected or unfortunate occurs. However, there are a few key things to consider when starting to plan a Maryland estate.

Begin by identifying the assets and then create an inventory of those to be included in the estate. Some of the most important assets include real estate, financial investments, insurance policies and retirement accounts. It is important to determine the value of each asset, which will help when making estate planning decisions.

Another important step when creating an estate plan is to assign a power of attorney. This document authorizes an individual to make decisions for a person under designated circumstances, such as when the maker of the power of attorney becomes incapacitated. There are different issues to consider in drafting and executing these legal documents. For example, a healthcare proxy is a type of power of attorney that allows a specified individual to make certain medical decisions for an incapacitated person.

Additionally, it is important for people in Maryland to update estate administration plans at appropriate intervals. This can be especially important after significant life changes, such as the birth of a child or a decision to divorce. These events may be reason for a change in intended beneficiaries, which means that any relevant legal documents should be amended to reflect these new circumstances. Whether planning an estate for the first time or making changes to an existing one, it is important to correctly draft and execute these legal documents, since any mistakes or confusion may cause the document to be challenged in probate court.

Source: Fox Business, 4 Tips to Begin the Estate-Planning Process, Kathryn Buschman, Nov. 22, 2013

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