Over my many years of practice, I have provided legal services in Estate Planning. Included in these services are the preparation of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, estate and gift tax planning, and various elder law matters.

I have also provided legal services with respect to the probate of decedents' estates.

If you need assistance with respect to any of these matters, contact my office at
for a consultation.

Estate Planning

Do you need a will? (Continued)

When there are minor children, it is common practice to provide, by will, for the care of those children in the event of the death of both spouses as a result of an automobile accident or similar disaster. All property will be held by a trustee for the use and benefit of the spouses' minor children. The trustee named is usually a close personal friend or family member who is considered competent to handle financial matters. The vehicle used in a will for this purpose is a testamentary trust. The will sets forth the rights, duties, and powers of the trustee in managing the assets of the trust in order to accomplish the purposes designated by the testator. Usually, the testator will provide that the trustee is to use the income derived from the trust's assets for the health, education, and welfare of the children until they reach a designated age at which time the trust's assets are to be distributed to them. The age normally designated is one after the children have become adults and are considered capable of taking care of their own property responsibly. The testator may also designate a guardian to look after the minor children and act as their parent until they become adults.

A question frequently asked is "What happens if I die without a will?" In this situation, the decedent's property will be distributed according to the law of the State of Maryland which generally provides for priority of distribution to the surviving spouse and lineal descendants. This may be illustrated by the following example. Suppose A dies without a will, leaving his wife B, three surviving adult children, C, D, and E, and two surviving grandchildren of a deceased child, F and G. Under Maryland law, the wife would receive $15,000 plus one-half of the remaining assets. The balance of the estate would be divided into four equal shares. The three surviving adult children, C, D, and E, would each receive one of the shares, and the two grandchildren, F and G, would each receive one-half of the remaining share.

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I welcome the opportunity to talk with you and to discuss how I may be of service.

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