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What is an Estate, and Do I REALLY Need an Estate Plan?

What is an estate plan? Probably not what you think...

I often get asked – “what is an estate?” You don’t need to have a summer house in Ocean City or a private art collection big enough to rival the Baltimore Museum of Art to consider yourself the owner of an estate. In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law. Although the term “estate” may conjure images of expansive country properties, expensive cars, or other symbols of high wealth, for the purposes of estate planning law, the term “estate” covers a whole lot more.


What is an estate? Probably not what you think…

Ordinary possessions like homes, jewelry collections, bank accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, cars, furniture — basically anything you can own — are also under the purview of your estate, meaning estate planning is something that profoundly impacts virtually everyone, not just the “country club” crowd. So even if you wouldn’t ordinarily consider yourself the owner of an estate, it’s quite likely that you are.

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is an estate?” we can move on the next logical question… “do I really need an estate plan?”  The answer to this question is, “Yes! Virtually everyone who owns property could benefit from estate planning.” And estate planning covers more than just property, too: It’s also about ensuring someone you trust can make critical medical and financial decisions for you if you’re unable to do so, and naming a guardian for minor children.


4 key advantages of estate planning

Estate planning may seem overwhelming.  But you don’t have to go it alone. At McDonald Law Firm, we know what it takes to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your exact needs. Here are the core tenets of what’s involved in estate planning and how you stand to benefit from the process:

  1. It allows you to remain in complete control of your property while you’re still alive and well.
  2. It helps you provide for yourself and your loved ones if you become incapacitated or disabled – without expensive and distracting court hearings.
  3. It minimizes the impact of professional fees, court costs, and taxes, namely probate.
  4. It provides a framework so you can give what you have to whom you want, the way you want, when you want.

Take Control of Your Future Today

Are you ready to sit down with a qualified estate planning attorney to see how you can ensure a better future for yourself and your family? There’s no time to waste — the sooner you take stock of your estate and get critical documents like wills and trusts completed, the better. Give Andre O. McDonald, a knowledgeable Howard County estate planning attorney, a call today at (443) 741-1088 to find out how we can keep your health and wealth in the right hands for good.




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For help with estate planning, special needs planning or elder law throughout Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore County; and Baltimore City, contact McDonald Law Firm, LLC.

McDonald Law Firm, LLC

Columbia Office

10500 Little Patuxent Pkwy, #420
Columbia, MD 21044-3563

Bethesda Office:

(By Appointment Only)

7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 800 West
Bethesda, MD 20814

Washington, DC Office:

2101 L Street, N.W., Suite 300
Washington, DC 20037

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