A real estate zoning and commercial licensing attorney with over 15 years of proven experience in Prince George’s County, Traci Scudder has added estate planning services to her practice in response to the hardships so many Maryland families faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. After losing a family member who did not have a will and other estate planning documents in place, she decided to apply her legal knowledge to this important area of the law. When you sit down with Ms. Scudder, you will get the information you need delivered with the care and compassion of someone who understands your concerns. Don’t wait another day to get your affairs in order.
Essential Estate Planning Documents Everyone Needs
When you hear the word “estate,” you might think of a mansion, trust fund, and bickering heirs. In reality, all an estate is in legal terms is the collection of everything you own. Almost everyone has some kind of property and some money to their name that will have to be dealt with when they pass away. Regardless of the value of the property, you can make life much easier for your children and other family members by leaving behind a Last Will and Testament. In addition to a will, a comprehensive estate plan also includes a couple of other important legal documents. Learn about the cornerstones of a basic estate plan below.
Last Will and Testament
When a will is drafted and executed with the help of an attorney, you can rest assured that it will stand up in court after your death. In your will, you name a personal representative to handle your final affairs. This can be anyone you choose, but we also recommend that you name a backup person. Your will can list who you want to inherit your house, car, money from your savings account, and even smaller, meaningful items such as pieces of jewelry or furniture. If you have dependents who are minors at the time you draft a will, you can name a trusted person to serve as guardian for them in your place. Upon your death, your personal representative must file the document with the Register of Wills in the county in which you died, and the court will oversee the distribution of your assets according to the terms of the will.
Powers of Attorney
If you become incapacitated and unable to manage your financial affairs, your loved ones could be unable to help in any way unless you have designated an agent to act on your behalf in a power of attorney document. We saw this situation play out far too often during the worst of the Covid pandemic. People who were in the hospital on ventilators for weeks and months were unable to pay their bills or manage their finances. This situation can be avoided with legally executed power of attorney documents that designate an agent to manage your finances.
As important as it is to let your loved ones know what kinds of medical treatments you would and would not want in certain situations, many of us don’t do it. By drafting an advance directive, you can name a healthcare agent to make decisions on your behalf. The document also provides an opportunity for you to state your wishes regarding resuscitation, pain relief, life-support, organ donation, and funeral arrangements. While these forms can be downloaded for free from the state of Maryland, an attorney can make sure your directive is valid and will be honored by witnessing signatures and keeping a copy on file.
Elder Law Issues
As the population of Maryland ages, there is a greater need for legal support regarding issues commonly faced by the elderly. If you or your aging parent is facing one of the following issues, contact Scudder Legal for help:
- Qualifying for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home
- Appointing an adult guardian
- Emergency powers of attorney
- Nursing home crisis admissions
- Supporting Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
This is a growing area of the law in Maryland, and Ms. Scudder is available to discuss your legal needs.
Contact Scudder Legal to Get Your Ducks in a Row
Accepting your own mortality and making important decisions about what should happen after you are gone are not easy steps to take. Scudder Legal understands how important it is for every person—regardless of heirs or assets—to have a will, power of attorney, and healthcare directive, and we are committed to giving families peace of mind while making the process as painless as possible. Contact us online or call 240-273-3294 to get started.