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Taking the time to create estate plans is an important action that could save families time and stress in the future. There are various aspects that could be addressed in these plans, and guardianship may be among the needs to consider. There are also other important efforts that could help Maryland families avoid lengthy probate proceedings when it comes to property distribution.

If an individual becomes incapacitated, as many are apt to do as they grow older, that person will likely need assistance with daily personal and financial decisions. Therefore, before such a need arises, parties may wish to appoint a conservator and/or guardian to take care of those decisions when necessary. A conservator is an individual appointed to take care of financial issues, and a guardian handles more personal decisions such as living arrangements and medical needs.

While making estate planning decisions, many individuals may wish to consider whether they want to put their family through the probate process. If a will is a person's only means for bequeathing assets, then the court process will be necessary. However, if a trust is utilized to leave property to other parties, that property will not have to go through probate.

The decisions made for estate plans can affect many individuals in different ways. If a person needs care later in life, he or she will likely want a trustworthy and responsible party in charge of the decisions. Therefore, taking the time to address guardianship issues may deflect complications later. In further efforts to make certain aspects of an estate less complicated, Maryland residents may also wish to find out more about creating trusts and how they could potentially be used to bequeath assets.

Source: stlpublicradio.org, "Four things to know about estate planning that could help you avoid fights with your family", Kelly Moffitt, May 19, 2016

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