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People in Maryland often do not want to think about what will happen when they die or if they should fall seriously ill. Unfortunately, their wishes may not be met if crucial estate planning documents are not in place. These estate plan documents include wills, living wills and durable powers of attorney.

The execution of a will can make it easier and less confusing for people to transfer their assets to their chosen beneficiaries. Wills essentially tell the decedents' executors or personal representatives how the decedents' assets are to be divided. Wills may also indicate the order in which heirs are to receive the assets in the event that funds end up running out before all of the bequests have been made.

Living wills are also essential. These documents describe how people would like to be treated when they reach the ends of their lives, so that their appointed agents can make decisions that align with their wishes. Documents known as durable powers of attorney for health care allow people to name the individuals who will make these decisions on their behalves.

The idea of creating an estate plan can be complicated and overwhelming for people in Maryland. However, with proper legal guidance, people may transfer their property to heirs in a manner that is as tax efficient as possible. They can also ensure that their plans are in line with the state's estate laws. An applied understanding of the law will ultimately help them to make sure that their needs and their loved ones' needs are met down the road.

Source: nerdwallet.com, "Why You Need Key Estate-Planning Documents", Jim Ludwick, Dec. 15, 2015

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