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For most people in Maryland, planning for one's own death is not usually considered a pleasant task. However, if people fail to make provisions for their passing, they may end up causing confusion and pain for their heirs later on. Developing a will is a particularly valuable part of estate planning.

Wills are documents that tell people's heirs how they want their property distributed after they die. Wills name the heirs as well as appoint executors who are responsible for carrying out deceased individuals' wishes. Wills might also contain cremation and burial instructions. Witnesses are necessary, and if there is evidence of tampering, this can cause a will to be considered invalid.

Living wills are also important documents to create during the estate planning process. Living wills are not really wills per se; rather, they allow people to tell their family members what they want done if they end up not being able to make important decisions for themselves. For instance, people might express that they want efforts to be made to sustain their lives no matter the circumstance, or they might choose to only have these efforts made if the chance of full recovery exists.

Estate planning is essential whether a person has a large or small estate. Proper legal guidance may help people successfully create wills in a manner that meets their needs as well as the needs of their loved ones. By creating a well-thought-out estate plan, including a will, a person in Maryland can end up saving his or her family a large amount of heartache and hassle if he or she suffers an irreversible decline in health and/or passes away unexpectedly.

Source: greenbaypressgazette.com, "A guide to basic estate planning", Debra A. DeLeers, Jan. 13, 2016

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