COVID - LIFE & HEALTH PLANNING

For many, engaging in estate planning and/or end-of-life discussions is intimidating.  Covid-19 has only made an already difficult job harder and more necessary.  Recognizing the urgency of end-of-life issues, Governor Hogan has changed the estate planning system to allow for more remote options including remote notarizations, remote witnessing, and electronic signings.  Many legal organizations have expanded their services to help during these difficult times.

Legal Organizations that Provide Free Estate Planning Services

Legal Organization that Provides Free Estate Planning for First Responders

Legal Organization that Offers Estate Planning for a Reduced Rate

Maryland People's Law Library's pages

  • Advance Directives- Advance Directive is a legal document that one uses to explain their health care wishes to be carried out when they are no longer able to make such decisions. An Advance Medical Directive may consist of two components: a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will. A Health Care Power of Attorney enables you to choose someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you. Whereas, a Living Will tells people what treatments you would want if something were to happen to you. More information on Advance Directives can be found here:  https://www.peoples-law.org/advance-directives 

  • Deed- A Deed is a legal document that shows who owns a particular real estate property. More information about deeds can be found here: https://www.peoples-law.org/joint-ownership-real-property, https://www.peoples-law.org/life-estates, and https://www.peoples-law.org/steps-recording-maryland-real-estate-deed 

  • Powers of Attorney- A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes an individual to act for another person when they are unable to do so. You can find more information on Powers of Attorney here: https://www.peoples-law.org/node/739#end

  • Probate- Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. In cases where a Will was done, the authenticity of the Will will be examined. In cases where there is no Will or the Will is being contested, the Orphans’ Court appoints a Personal Representative to distribute the decedent’s property according to Maryland Law. More information on Probate can be found here: https://www.peoples-law.org/estate-administration-overview 

  • Standby Guardianship- A Standby Guardian is a person appointed by a child’s legal guardian (parent) to take care of the child if the legal guardian becomes ill or mentally incapacitated. More information on Standby Guardianship can be found here: https://www.peoples-law.org/standby-guardianship

  • Trust: A trust is typically used to pass property to beneficiaries (a third party who benefits from a trust). A trust is created when a person (a.k.a. the grantor) transfers their ownership in a specific property to another person (the “trustee”) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). More information about trust can be found here: https://www.peoples-law.org/trusts 

  • Wills- A Will is a legal document that explains your wishes upon death, including who will take care of one’s minor children and what happens to one’s estate. You can find more information on Wills here: https://www.peoples-law.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-wills

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