Estates & Trusts
Welcome to our Estates & Trusts practice! We are proud to offer a full complement of estate planning services to help protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your incapacitation or passing. Our experienced attorneys look forward to assisting you with all aspects of estate planning, as well as the preparation of these important legal documents:
- Last Will and Testament
- Advance Medical Directive
- Power of Attorney (General or Limited)
- Trusts (Revocable, Irrevocable, or Special Needs)
Last Will and Testament
A Will is a legal document that allows you to direct the distribution of your assets after your death. It is essential to have a Will in place to ensure that your loved ones receive your personal and real property per your wishes.
Advance Medical Directive
An Advance Directive is a legal document that specifies your healthcare preferences in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. This document can include instructions on the use of life-sustaining treatments, pain management, and other medical interventions. Our attorneys can assist you in creating an Advance Medical Directive that reflects your wishes when it comes to your medical care.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone to manage your affairs while you are living, including those of a legal or financial nature. This document can grant broad or limited powers to your designated agent, depending on your specific needs. Our attorneys can help you create a Power of Attorney that is tailored to your unique circumstances and ensures that your interests are protected.
A Trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of a designated beneficiary or beneficiaries. There are many different types of Trusts, and our attorneys can help you choose the one that best meets your needs. Trusts can be an effective way to protect your assets, minimize taxes, and ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes. We offer a wide range of Trusts that can help you protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.
- Revocable Living Trust: A Revocable Living Trust is a popular option for estate planning in Maryland. It allows you to maintain control of your assets during your lifetime and designate beneficiaries to receive them after your death. The Trust can be amended or revoked at any time, providing flexibility in your estate planning.
- Irrevocable Trust: An Irrevocable Trust is a Trust that cannot be amended or revoked once it is created. This type of Trust can be an effective way to protect your assets from creditors and minimize your estate taxes. An Irrevocable Trust can also be used to provide for a disabled or special needs family member.
- Special Needs Trust: A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a type of trust that provides financial support to individuals with disabilities while preserving their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In Maryland, SNTs are established to support the long-term care and quality of life of individuals with disabilities.
There are two types of SNTs in Maryland: First-Party SNTs and Third-Party SNTs. A First-Party SNT is established with funds that belong to the individual with disabilities, such as a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit. A Third-Party SNT is established with funds that belong to someone else, such as a parent or grandparent.
In order for an SNT to be considered valid in Maryland, it must meet certain requirements set forth by state and federal law. These requirements include:
- The trust must be irrevocable.
- The trust must specify that it is established for the sole benefit of the individual with disabilities.
- The trust must provide that any remaining funds will be used to repay the state for benefits paid on behalf of the individual with disabilities after their death.
- The trust must not provide for the direct payment of funds to the individual with disabilities.
It is important to note that SNTs must be carefully drafted and administered in accordance with state and federal law to ensure that they do not jeopardize the individual’s eligibility for government benefits. In addition, the trustee of an SNT must follow strict guidelines in managing and disbursing trust funds.
Special Needs Trusts are an important tool for families in Maryland to provide financial support to individuals with disabilities while preserving their eligibility for government benefits. It is important to work with an attorney who specializes in special needs planning to ensure that the SNT is established and administered in compliance with state and federal law.
- Charitable Trust: A Charitable Trust is a Trust that benefits a charity or non-profit organization. This type of Trust can provide tax benefits for the donor while supporting a cause that they are passionate about.
- Testamentary Trust: A Testamentary Trust is a Trust that is created in your Will and becomes effective after your death. This type of Trust can be used to provide for minor children or beneficiaries who may not be able to manage their inheritance on their own.
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT): A life insurance trust is a type of trust that is created to hold and manage life insurance policies for the benefit of named beneficiaries. In Maryland, a life insurance trust is a legal arrangement that allows the trust creator (also known as the grantor) to transfer ownership of a life insurance policy to the trust. Once the policy is owned by the trust, the trust becomes the beneficiary of the policy and is responsible for managing and distributing the proceeds of the policy to the named beneficiaries.
One of the main advantages of using a life insurance trust in Maryland is that it can help to reduce estate taxes by removing the life insurance proceeds from the taxable estate of the grantor. Additionally, a life insurance trust can provide greater flexibility and control over the distribution of the policy proceeds, allowing the grantor to customize the distribution to meet the unique needs of their beneficiaries.
To set up a life insurance trust in Maryland, it is important to work with a qualified estate planning attorney who can help to create and implement the trust in accordance with Maryland law. The attorney can also help to ensure that the trust is properly funded and that the grantor’s wishes are accurately reflected in the trust documents.
Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, and so it is essential to have an experienced attorney on your side to ensure that your interests are protected. Our attorneys can guide you through the probate process and ensure that your loved ones receive the assets you intended for them.
The probate process in Maryland is a court-supervised process that takes place after a person passes away. The purpose of the probate process is to distribute the deceased person’s assets to their beneficiaries and pay any outstanding debts.
The first step in the probate process in Maryland is to determine if the deceased person had a Will. If the deceased person did have a will, the named executor must file the Will with the court and begin the probate process. If the deceased person did not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator to oversee the probate process.
Once the executor or administrator has been appointed, they will gather all of the deceased person’s assets and create an inventory of the estate. This inventory will include all of the deceased person’s assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, and personal property. The executor or administrator will also gather any outstanding bills and debts that the deceased person had, and pay those debts from the estate’s assets.
The next step in the probate process is to give notice to all interested parties, including the beneficiaries of the estate and any creditors. This notice is required by law, and it informs all interested parties that the probate process has begun and provides them with an opportunity to object to the probate process if they have any concerns.
Once the notice has been given, the executor or administrator will file a petition with the court asking the court to approve the distribution of the estate’s assets. The court will review the petition and, if everything is in order, the court will approve the distribution of the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries.
After the court approves the distribution of the estate’s assets, the executor or administrator will distribute the assets to the beneficiaries as directed by the will or by the laws of intestacy (if there is no will). Once all of the assets have been distributed and all debts have been paid, the probate process will be completed.
Contact a Maryland Estate Planning Lawyer for your Peace of Mind Planning Session
At Pinder Plotkin, we understand that every individual’s circumstances are unique. That’s why we take the time to get to know our clients and their specific needs. Our goal is to provide you with peace of mind by creating an estate plan that puts you and your loved ones first. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.