A Last Will & Testament is an important document every person needs, but it cannot handle the full range of situations that should be managed by a comprehensive estate plan.
To accomplish these goals a person would need an Advanced Healthcare Directive, a Power of Attorney, or one of several types of trust, depending on the purpose, respectively.
Without these other documents, you could very easily end up with a doctor or court making a decision regarding your health, assets, or future that you would not have made yourself.
The other concern in over-reliance on a will is the increase in assets passing outside of probate. Not only do many assets such as insurance policies or retirements accounts have beneficiary designations, a trust can offer greater flexibility and privacy than simply having a will.
Similar pitfalls occur with an overreliance on a Power of Attorney.
The other main challenge surrounding the use of a Power of Attorney is convincing others to accept it.
Many financial institutions place significant roadblocks in the way of utilizing a Power of Attorney. They can require specific language be used, the document be completed on their form, or to be updated/executed within a certain period of time.
The best way to combat these problems is thoroughness. Create a complete plan that not only makes the work easier by taking steps such as consolidating accounts, be explicit with what powers you are granting and to whom.
Mr. Abraham is an experienced attorney and founding member of the Law Firm of Abraham & Bauer. The Towson, MD office of the firm concentrates its practice in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Guardianship, Asset Preservation and Fiduciary Representation.
He is an active member in a number of professional organizations that focus on law, the senior community, and estate planning. He works with clients in Central Maryland, especially in Towson, Hunt Valley, Lutherville/Timonium, Parkville, White Marsh, Bel Air & Northern Baltimore City.
Schedule a consultation to help you and your loved ones.