Estate planning is how you structure your assets for distribution once you pass away. Whether you are wealthy or only have a modest nest egg, you should brush up on estate planning in Maryland well before retirement.
Double-check your retirement plans
Retirement plans come in several different forms, the most common being individual plans such as traditional or Roth individual retirement accounts. Many Americans choose employer-sponsored plans, where employers match a portion of your contributions. No matter which plan you choose, most require you to name one or more beneficiaries upon registration.
Considering that retirement is of concern to you, you may have selected those beneficiaries decades ago. It’s never too late to change beneficiaries — go back and make sure they’re who you want them to be.
If you don’t pick an executor, the courts will
During your lifetime, obviously, you handle your financial affairs. Once you pass away, however, you immediately become unable to manage your assets. Most benefactors name an attorney or loved one as an executor via a will or other estate planning documents.
If you don’t select an executor — called a personal representative in the Old Line State — prior to passing away, the Maryland Orphans’ Court will name an administrator on your behalf. Although executors and administrators both share the same level of court-appointed legal authority, executors can have additional powers if you choose to list them in your will.
Although both have a fiduciary duty to act in your estate’s and its beneficiaries’ best interests, naming an executor is a good way to ensure your assets get properly distributed.
Comprehensively document your assets
While you know what you own, your loved ones might not. Creating a simple yet comprehensive list of your assets and other pertinent financial information will prove helpful to your family members, friends and other beneficiaries upon death.
Countless older Americans put off estate planning due to how complex it seems. Whether you’re wealthy or simply financially secure, you owe it to yourself to learn about the basics of estate planning long before retiring.