Estate Planning

Top 5 Trusts and When to Use Them

Top 5 Trusts and When to Use Them

Maryland law provides many options to create a trust as part of your estate plan. Depending on your situation, one or more trusts may be in your best interests. Trusts are complex documents that can have life-long effects for you and your beneficiaries, so care must be taken in choosing and drafting your trusts. A Maryland estate-planning attorney can work with you to help you decide which type of trust or trusts best meet your needs. 

How to Disinherit Someone — and Why You Shouldn't

How to Disinherit Someone — and Why You Shouldn't

People in Maryland can write practically whatever terms they want in their wills, but that does not mean the probate courts will honor those terms. Let's say that you want to leave nothing to the person who would ordinarily inherit a portion of your estate. You might be angry at the person, or you might have agreed, for example, with your spouse, that they will take nothing under your will. Take it from a Maryland estate-planning attorney—this may not be entirely legal.

[VIDEO] Top 5 Estate-Planning Questions Answered by Attorney Steve Thienel

[VIDEO] Top 5 Estate-Planning Questions Answered by Attorney Steve Thienel

Estate-planning can be an overwhelming process to consider. However, with a little knowledge, you can have your estate-plan prepared in no time, leaving you with one less thing hanging over your head. In this video, Steve Thienel answers the top 5 estate-planning questions people ask every day.

Maryland and DC Reduce Estate Tax Exemptions

Maryland and DC Reduce Estate Tax Exemptions

In the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress greatly increased the federal estate tax exemption. The tax bill doubled the federal estate tax exemption to $11.18 million for 2018. At the time of passing the tax bill, Maryland and DC intended to match the federal estate tax exemption amount. DC was set to match the federal estate tax exemption in 2018 and Maryland would match the federal exemption amount in 2019. 

Estate Planning Strategies Under the New Federal Tax Law

Estate Planning Strategies Under the New Federal Tax Law

Several events should trigger a review of your estate plan, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, or the death of an heir. Another reason to review your estate plan is a change in the tax code. When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), I received numerous calls from clients with questions about how the changes to the federal tax code impacted their estate plans.

Why do I Need an Advance Care Directive?

Why do I Need an Advance Care Directive?

The purpose of an Advance Care Directive is to carefully explain how you want medical decisions to be made for you in the event you are unable to make the decisions for yourself. Even though you can locate forms for an Advance Care Directive online, preparing this important legal document without the assistance of a Maryland estate-planning attorney can result in your health care wishes being ignored.

Why do I Need a Residuary Estate Clause?

Why do I Need a Residuary Estate Clause?

When you draft and execute a will, your Maryland estate-planning attorney should ensure that your will has all mandatory clauses and terms to ensure the will is valid and accomplishes your wishes and goals. Because attorneys who do not practice in the area of estate planning may not be familiar with certain clauses for wills, it is prudent to seek the advice of an experienced Maryland estate planning attorney when executing your will.

5 Things That Happen When You Fail to Have an Estate Plan in Place

5 Things That Happen When You Fail to Have an Estate Plan in Place

Estate planning is an important process for individuals regardless of their wealth, marital status, age, or health. An estate plan is much more than simply directing who will inherit your assets upon your death. A comprehensive estate plan can lower or eliminate estate taxes, protect assets from creditors, provide for incapacitation, protect a family member with special needs, and much more.

What Does an Estate Administration Attorney Do?

What Does an Estate Administration Attorney Do?

An estate administration attorney guides a personal representative through each step of the estate administration process. Because a personal representative can be held liable for negligence and other errors made while administering the estate, it is important to have an attorney to provide legal advice and support. 

What Responsibilities Do Virginia Guardians and Conservators Have?

What Responsibilities Do Virginia Guardians and Conservators Have?

When a minor child or an incapacitated adult is appointed a court-ordered guardian and conservator, the person appointed by the court has a duty and legal responsibility to act in the best interests of the protected person or ward (minor child or incapacitated adult). It can be a little overwhelming if you are suddenly appointed by the court to care for another person and manage that person’s property and affairs.

Do You Know How to Use a Durable Power of Attorney?

Do You Know How to Use a Durable Power of Attorney?

Have you been named as the Attorney-in-Fact or Agent of a Durable Power of Attorney? If so, it is very important that you understand the powers and duties that have been granted to you by the Principal. It is equally important that you understand how and when to use the powers granted to you by the Durable Power of Attorney. Our Virginia estate-planning attorney assists individuals in learning how to use a Durable Power of Attorney in addition to assisting individuals as they create these documents as part of their estate plan.

What are the fiduciary duties of a DC trustee?

What are the fiduciary duties of a DC trustee?

When you appoint a trustee, you are placing a great deal of confidence in this person to manage the trust assets. A trustee holds a great deal of power because the trustee holds legal title to the property within the trust. It is very important that a trustee understands his fiduciary duties under the terms of the trust and Washington DC trustee laws. A DC trust administration attorney can assist trustees in understanding their fiduciary duties as a trustee.

How to Avoid Conservatorship and Guardianship in Virginia

How to Avoid Conservatorship and Guardianship in Virginia

At some point in many people’s lives, they become unable to watch over their personal or financial care. In these situations, it may become necessary for someone to step in and assume certain responsibilities of care for that person. Some states call them guardians, others conservators. These individuals are charged with ensuring an incapacitated person’s medical, financial and other needs are met. With proper planning with an estate-planning attorney, guardianships can be avoided.

What are the Advantages of a Maryland Trust?

What are the Advantages of a Maryland Trust?

When it comes to estate-planning, the two terms that generally come to mind are wills and trusts. We know we should have one or the other, or perhaps both. For many people, it can be difficult to determine what the best course of action will be to protect their assets. Additionally, because Maryland updated its law on trusts a few years ago, incorporating many provisions from the Uniform Probate Code, it may be necessary for those people who have a Maryland trust to reconsider their options.

What Estate-Planning Documents Do You Need in Place When Your Child Turns 18?

What Estate-Planning Documents Do You Need in Place When Your Child Turns 18?

Think estate-planning is only for the elderly? Everyone needs help at any stage of the game. In fact, you may think your job is pretty much done when your child turns 18 -- that your role has shifted from director to supporting actor. Your child goes off to college, and you think about how you could repurpose her bedroom in a few years when she is setting up her own place. For 18 years, you have been able to watch over her, call her doctors, talk to her teachers, and do your job as an involved parent. Then there is a problem with her financial aid, and you quickly discover that the university cannot answer your questions or let you help fix the problem. The good news is that there are estate documents that could give you the legal authority to step in when your college-age child needs your help, but the bad news is that you don’t have those documents.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Virginia Guardianships

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Virginia Guardianships

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, obtaining a guardianship is a complex undertaking and one you should not attempt without a Virginia estate planning attorney to guide you through the process. Navigating the intricate waters of Virginia guardianships requires the knowledge and skill of an estate planning attorney - and here’s why: what you don’t know can hurt you.

Why Do I Need an Exit Strategy for My Business?

For most, the basic purpose of owning and operating a business is to make a profit. Not only is selling a business an opportunity to maximize your profits, it can sometimes be the most the most profitable business decision. Whether you are planning on selling your business within its first few years, first few decades, or never at all – it is always a good idea to have a comprehensive exit strategy, so the taxpaying business can plan for any situation that may arise down the road.