A Common Sense Approach To Estate Planning And Probate
When you’re ready to put your affairs in order, you want an estate plan that’s comprehensive enough to ensure your goals are met but simple enough that you can maintain it and implement it. A comprehensive estate plan may be a bit more costly at the initial stage, but when done properly it will:
- Avoid the cost and delays of probate
- Avoid or minimize estate tax
- Minimize the cost of attorney’s fees now and later
At Howard & Howard, Attorneys-at-Law, our father-and-son team takes a practical approach to estate planning. Our goal is to ensure that every family, even those with complex estates or family-owned businesses, has a plan in place that is understandable and manageable.
Creating Effective, Simplified Maryland Estate Plans
Some families take great pains to avoid the cost of probate. They may find themselves using an expensive lawyer again and again because their estate plan is too cumbersome and complicated for them to handle. Their attorney may have kept all original documents, may have named him or herself as the fiduciary agent, or, by failing to stay on top of the estate, may force some matters into probate. All of this can lead to more legal fees.
As your Maryland estate planning attorneys, our approach is to help you avoid probate as well as avoid (or minimize) the need for continuing legal help. We can assist with:
- Naming a power of attorney (POA), someone whom you elect to take care of your financial affairs should you become unable to do so
- Selling real estate or preserving the value of real property as part of the overall plan
- Establishing an advance directive so that medical professionals, family and friends understand your wishes for end of life and critical care
- Creating a trust or combination of trusts can provide for the seamless transfer of assets from generation to generation and also minimize legal fees later on
Elder Law And Asset Protection Planning
Elder law is a relatively new area of the law that deals with issues of asset protection and end-of-life care for elderly persons. Loving families who want what’s best for their elders sometimes find themselves buying costly products they don’t need or making medical or nursing home care decisions without fully understanding the financial and the human cost of those decisions.
Proper planning can shelter family assets, allowing your elder parent to access Medicaid benefits when they need them while still ensuring money and resources are available for a healthy spouse. We understand that every family situation is different. In some cases, it may be wise to pay for the best care possible for as long as possible, and then spending down assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance.
Probate And Estate Administration
When people fail to plan, their estates end up in Maryland probate court. Probate is a legal process that deals with the assets and property of a deceased person in an organized way that is supervised by the court. Usually, this process is handled by a lay person – a friend or family member – who may have little experience with probate court.
If you are the personal representative or executor of an estate, we can help you fulfill your role. You may need assistance with the:
- Identification of assets
- Payment of taxes
- Sale of personal property and other holdings
- Distribution of property to beneficiaries
Should the services of an accountant or financial planner be required, we are able to provide trusted referrals.
Get The Personalized Legal Solutions Your Family Need
At Howard & Howard, Attorneys-at-Law, we offer practical, functional and seamless estate planning. We will help you understand the pros and cons of each course of action can help you make the best decision during difficult times. Contact our law office or call (410) 526-4734 to schedule an initial consultation.