Estate Planning in Baltimore and Maryland
If you haven’t already done so, carve out some time this Fall to talk to your parents and loved ones about Estate Planning. Avila’s first blog in September touched on a general overview of Estate Planning, and some of the documents involved in the process. Now we’d like to highlight an important local resource here in the Baltimore Metropolitan area.
Elder Law Attorney Stephen E. Bailey is Avila Home Care’s go-to expert on Estate Planning. Practicing law for over thirty years, we have the utmost trust in Mr. Bailey, and we appreciate that he believes in keeping things simple for you and your loved ones, while at the same time ensuring that every single detail is thought of and planned for.
Stephen ensures that his clients qualify to receive the benefits they deserve, that their assets are protected, and he makes sure that their wishes are carried out.
There are three types of services related to Estate Planning that the Law Firm of Stephen E. Bailey provides: (1) Wills and Trusts, (2) Power of Attorney, and (3) Health Directives.
1) Wills and Trusts
The goal of a will or trust is to document in writing a set of instructions regarding exactly how and to whom you’d like to distribute your assets after you pass away. It’s important to avoid probate, and to minimize or eliminate taxes when crafting a will or trust. If someone dies without a will, the laws of the State of Maryland will decide how their estate is distributed. A will can name a personal representative who has the responsibility to collect assets, pay bills and distribute an estate according to the terms of the will. A will can also include charitable bequests, and name a guardian for minor children. Trusts can be used to protect the inheritance of younger children or grandchildren or beneficiaries with disabilities or addictions.
2) Power of Attorney
It’s important to designate a specific person the authority to manage the finances of an estate, and the details of this designation are codified in a document called a “Power of Attorney.” A Power of Attorney allows another person to write checks to pay bills without the risk of losing assets to the other person’s creditors.
The Maryland General Assembly passed a Power of Attorney statute in 2010, requiring anyone who drafted and executed a Power of Attorney prior to 2010, to update it. The 2010 law imposes penalties on any bank, insurance company or other financial institution that refuses to accept a Power of Attorney, so it’s important that this document reflects this updated law. If there is not a valid and updated Power of Attorney in place, a family will need to petition the court to have guardianship established, which costs time and money.
Once someone has passed, their agent’s authority to act under the Power of Attorney ceases, and so the Law Office of Stephen E. Bailey can help put in place the legal documents needed to help manage one’s affairs before and after death.
3) Health Directives
It’s important to choose ahead of time the person who will make health-related decisions for you if you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself. If you have specific healthcare choices and end-of-life wishes that you want to be respected and followed by your loved ones and health care providers, you need to have all of this documented in an Advance Health Directive. The Maryland Attorney General’s website has a free downloadable Advance Health Directive, so you don’t need to pay an attorney to prepare one, however, it might be helpful to discuss the various options and decision points with an attorney.
Avila Home Care trusts Stephen Bailey to draft well-crafted legal documents, and provide expert legal advice. The first visit with Mr. Bailey is always complimentary, and before making a decision to hire him, Mr. Bailey will put all of his recommendations and his fees in writing so that potential clients can make an informed decision.
Avila Home Care is grateful to Stephen Bailey for providing such loving and experienced support when families are navigating complicated decisions and laws. Please call us at 410-826-6100 if you’d like to discuss local resources for Estate Planning with Avila Home Care, or you may call Stephen Bailey directly at 410-828-8871.
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