Maryland Estate Planning Attorney
We preserve your assets and
help your family thrive
Maryland Estate Attorney Providing Wills, Estate Planning, and Probate Administration
You have dedicated your life to caring and providing for your family and loved ones. Along the way, you may have accumulated assets, paid for camps, colleges, and weddings, or maybe that is still just the plan. No matter your stage of life, there is always the need to plan for the future. We are here to help you reach your goals and preserve your assets to benefit both you and your family.
Thoughtful estate planning should provide peace of mind that you are preserving what you have worked for, but it can even be an opportunity to elevate your family and to benefit them long into the future. An experienced Maryland Estate Planning Attorney knows what legal tools are available and how to use them to achieve your goals.
Estate planning is a necessary part of every person’s personal and financial life. It allows you to plan ahead and create a legacy for yourself and your loved ones. Estate planning is a very personal process. While most people want to provide additional assets to their children for their security, some people want to leave their assets to charity. The type of plan you choose will depend on your own personal circumstances and family situation.
There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan. We take into consideration your financial situation and the specifics of your family. We will first become familiar with you and your family’s concerns. Then, we will discuss potential solutions and develop a plan together that’s best suited to your needs and goals. We do not rush in and create a Maryland living trust for you if it makes little sense in your situation.
We Make Working with a Maryland Trusts and Estates Lawyer Simple
Don’t worry, while estate planning may sound like a daunting task, we respect your time and keep the process simple for you. We will often start out with a simple estate planning conference call or meeting, ask that you provide some readily available information needed for your estate plan, prepare the documents for you to review, and finally have a meeting to sign your Maryland estate planning documents. As you can see, it does not need to be difficult for you.
If you would like to discuss our assisting you with your estate plan or to review your current plan and documents, please schedule a call or meeting.
Ready to get started? We’re Ready to Help.
Contact us now and we’ll be happy to schedule a call or meeting with no commitment.
If we cannot assist you, we will gladly provide you with referrals.
What path should your estate plan take to protect your assets?
There are many tools in an estate planning attorney’s toolbox. Choosing the right ones for the job is the tough part. We will first find out more about you and your family and your goals for your estate plan.
- Are we trying to save on taxes?
- Are we making sure beneficiaries put the money to good use?
- Are we making sure the money lasts a long time?
- Are we making sure we pay the education costs of a beneficiary?
You may want all the above in your estate plan. Or, perhaps you want your entire estate to go to charity? The choice is yours. It’s our job to make that happen for you.
Then, we go to work creating your estate plan by choosing the right Maryland wills and trusts and changing assets’ titles to match your needs. The key is knowing what tools to use and when. An experienced Maryland Estate Attorney can help guide you to the right choices in your estate plan.
No matter why you have estate planning or probate concerns, we help guide you to a solution
Our practice includes advising clients with all aspects of estate planning, including the preparation of legal documents, as well as the proper use of those documents. When necessary, our estate lawyers will review and analyze estate planning documents prepared by other attorneys. We can assist you with:
- Establishing an estate plan.
- Executing Maryland Wills and Maryland Trusts.
- Creating Financial Power of Attorney and Medical Directive documents.
- Avoiding probate and getting a streamlined probate process.
- Preparing and using Maryland revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.
- Preparing and filing Maryland life estate deeds.
- Avoiding family disputes over your estate.
- Protecting clients from nursing home expenses through Medicaid and elder law planning.
- Protecting family members who may not be aware of your estate planning.
- Creating trusts to protect beneficiaries with drug or alcohol dependencies.
- Creating Maryland Special Needs Trusts for children with disabilities.
- Protecting your assets from creditors.
- Preventing probate problems.
- Filing tax returns.
- Obtaining exemptions from estate tax.
- Providing probate lawyer services.
Create a Will or Trust with a Maryland Estate Lawyer
Your creating a will or trust can ensure your estate distributes your assets according to your wishes after you pass away. You will want an experienced estate lawyer who can guide you through the process. Our years of experience from helping others with family and asset situations similar to yours will make the process easier and more effective. An experienced Maryland estate attorney will make sure your estate plan functions for your family and is legally sound.
Deciding upon beneficiaries for wills and trusts
When you create wills or trusts, you will need to determine who will be your beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will receive your assets upon your death. You may have trouble deciding. Your family members’ needs may be different, even among your children.
You may need to balance your assets to either make sure everything is fair. Other times, families may want to benefit one person more than another for family or economic reasons. Blended families with children from more than one marriage may face even more challenges.
Having an experienced Maryland estate attorney to guide you can be very important.
Deciding upon your personal representative or executor
Maryland law refers to the executor of your estate as the personal representative. A personal representative will open the Maryland probate of your estate after your death. They will manage your estate and carrying out your wishes. You should likely appoint one person to be the personal representative. You can name others as successors if the first personal representative becomes unable.
Deciding upon the guardian for your children
When people think of estate planning, we first think about dividing our assets. Any parent of young children will also need to make a crucial decision about who will be the guardian of their children if something tragic happens to you. Should your child go to your sibling or a close friend with similar values? This can be a simple decision for some, but more difficult for others.
Most important thing will be to actually make that decision, discuss your plan, and get it in writing. As Maryland attorneys for wills, we regularly guide families in making this important decision, weighing the pros and cons of your choices. We completely understand why many have trouble with deciding upon who should be guardian and will be happy to help when asked.
Setting up trusts for your estate
Trusts allow you to hold assets for beneficiaries long after your death. The trust can then distribute the assets and income over time to one or more beneficiaries. Families most commonly use trusts to ensure the inheritance does not go to children and young adults early in life and in one enormous lump sum. A Maryland trust can keep your beneficiary’s assets safe from creditors and avoid the need for probate. It can also allow your family to maintain its privacy.
We cannot expect you to know everything there is to know about Maryland trusts. We’ll walk you through those scenarios where you may want a trust to reach your goals for your assets and your family. We’ll also assist you in your choosing of a trustee who will manage the assets and decide on distributions and how the trust invests assets.
Your Maryland attorney should not push you into any type of trust. We go through the benefits of trusts, the types of trusts available to you, the costs and downsides, and then let you make an informed decision.
Caring for a surviving spouse
If you are married, it is important to consider your surviving spouse in your estate plan. There can be complications if there are children from either spouse’s prior marriage. You may both want to make sure that all the children will receive a portion of your estate. You also have your obvious responsibilities to your spouse.
In fact, Maryland’s spousal share mandates you take care of your surviving spouse in some manner. This can be done with either probate or non-probate assets, such as insurance and similar. You may want to leave assets to your spouse or create a trust that provides for them during their lifetime.
We will often provide a trust to your spouse, so they can use the assets during their lifetime. The trust can then divide the remaining assets among the children. Planning when both spouses remain alive and can determine the later distributions can ensure the plan will be fair for each of the children.
You deserve the experience of a trusts and estates law firm
Contact our Maryland estate lawyer today to discuss your will or trust and ensure that your estate plan is in order. We’ll be happy to guide you through the process and help you create a plan that meets your needs and protects your assets.
Estate Planning and Maryland Law
State laws are very important with estate planning, and Maryland is no exception.
Maryland has estate and inheritance taxes that should be considered when drafting estate plans. There is also a federal estate tax on the estates of wealthy individuals. We often need to balance estate tax considerations against the Maryland income tax and federal step-up basis.
Maryland requires the probate of estate assets, sometimes even for a single titled asset. For instance, a vehicle registered with the MVA could require you to open the estate of a Maryland resident to transfer the title.
Maryland estates law provides a spousal election. If the deceased spouse provides the surviving spouse a minimal inheritance, then the surviving spouse can elect to receive a fairer amount and disregard your estate plan.
Maryland does not recognize common-law spouses unless they became common law spouses in another state. Maryland also recognizes adopted and illegitimate children as having the same inheritance rights as children of marriages.
This is just a partial list of the complex issues that Maryland law can create when dealing with the estate of a Maryland resident.
We have the experience with both Maryland and federal law necessary to guide you in creating a solid estate plan that addresses our state’s unique concerns that affect everything from drafting your will and trusts to probate.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some typical questions clients ask a Maryland trust and estate lawyer:
I’m moving from Baltimore County to Florida. Can I still use the last will that my estate attorney in Towson made for me?
As long as you were a resident of the State of Maryland when you signed your last will in Towson, other states will still honor it. The question would be whether anything in your or your family’s life changed since that time. We suggest reviewing your last will and testament at least every five years with your wills and trusts lawyer. The best estate attorneys help identify personal changes and legal changes that your estate plan may need to address.
My last will says my wife gets everything, but I own my hunting land outside Hagerstown with my son. Who would get it?
The answer will depend upon the how you titled the land’s deed in Washington County. If you titled the property as tenants in common, then one-half of the property would be a probate asset. Your last will would determine who gets your half of the property. If you titled the property as jointly owned with rights of survivorship, then it automatically transfers to the other owner. We consider jointly owned property with rights of survivorship as a non-probate asset. A last will does not control how non-probate assets get transferred.
Words From Clients
Jeff was a great attorney to work with on the sale of our business. When problems popped up for the buyer to close, his manner kept everyone calm, both us and the buyer, and he came up with great solutions. Jeff's experience definitely shows, and we'll be happy to work with him again. - Elizabeth B.
Our CPA recommended Jeff to help us with our estate planning and transferring our business to our kids. Jeff was a friendly guy and understood the business and personal issues we were concerned about with giving the business to our kids. He came up with a great plan that reduced the taxes and made sure the business would stay open after we retired. We think our estate plan we made with Jeff will really help our family after we're gone. We are happy our CPA recommended him and with the work Jeff did for us. - Tom D.