Baltimore Law Firm Assists Clients with Estate Planning
Maryland Lawyers Experienced in Wills and Trusts
Successful estate planning involves using a variety of instruments to manage your property and provide for the distribution of your assets to your loved ones through minimal costs and tax consequences. Maryland is one of a handful of states that has both an estate tax and an inheritance tax, but a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you minimize your family’s exposure to either or both.
Collins Legal Group, LLC, represents estates and heirs during the Maryland probate process. When contemplating estate planning in Maryland, there are a number of documents you should have an understanding of:
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament defines who will inherit your property at the time of your death, can streamline the probate process, and is used to designate a personal representative, or executor, for your estate. If you don’t have a last will and testament when you die, Maryland law will decide who will receive your assets, no matter what your wishes might have been.
Advanced Medical Directive
An advanced medical directive will outline your wishes for medical care provided when you are near death, should your condition render you unable to express them yourself. These documents will typically make your desires known regarding end of life decisions including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, tube feeding, dialysis, mechanical ventilation, pain medication, comfort care, and organ donation.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney specifies a person who will act as your agent if you are unable to speak for yourself. Also known as a health care surrogacy or proxy, a health care power of attorney gives someone the power to make medical decisions for another person whether or not they are dying. A durable power of attorney allows someone else to conduct your business affairs should you be unable to do so because of illness or mental incapacity. Most people designate their spouse as their durable power of attorney, and name one of their children as alternate.
Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
A properly structured trust can help you avoid probate and preserve your estate. Revocable living trusts can be modified by the grantor, but do not allow trust assets to avoid inclusion into the gross taxable estate of the decedent. Irrevocable trusts, which cannot be modified or terminated without the beneficiaries’ permission, remove all incidents of ownership, meaning all the trust’s assets will be excluded from the grantor’s taxable estate.