Guidance You Deserve From a Team You Can Trust
When it comes to probate and estate administration law, there’s a lot of details that can become complicated and confusing, leaving you frustrated with more questions than answers. As an experienced probate attorney in La Plata, MD, Robert Burke Law Firm is here to help as your legal advocate.
Estate Planning Services
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament is a legal document that provides your wishes to be followed after your death. A will controls the division of your individually owned assets. It also appoints guardians for your children. In your will an executor is nominated to manage the distribution of those assets. If you die without a will or a trust, your assets will be distributed by the law of intestacy. In other words, the state decides who inherits your money.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent to act in your place for financial or legal transactions. A general durable power of attorney grants the agent power to act on your behalf as soon as you sign. The agent’s power continues in the event that you become incapacitated.
You can specify that your agent only has power if you are incapacitated. The agent will then have an obligation to ensure that they represent your best interests. Should you become incapacitated and not have power of attorney, your family would have to file a court proceeding called Guardianship Petition, which can cost thousands of dollars.
A trust is a legal entity that manages your assets during your life and after your death. It provides a means of managing your affairs if you become disabled. It allows your estate to avoid probate.
The best way to understand a trust is to think of it as a company. The person who starts the trust is the settlor. In a business this would be the investor. The person who runs the trust is the trustee. In business this would be the CEO or president. The person who receives money from the trust is the beneficiary. In a business this would be the customer receiving services or the owners receiving money back from the company. One person can be the settlor, trustee, and beneficiary of a trust. Trusts allow people to avoid probate, preserve money for their children, and in some cases protect against creditors and estate taxes. Trusts can also avoid having a nursing home take your money.
There are different factors that determine if you will owe any federal estate taxes after your death, including the size of your estate and how your estate plan works. At the Robert Burke Law Firm, we have a variety of strategies that we can use to reduce or even eliminate these death taxes. Keep in mind you will need to plan early in order for us to implement these strategies.
If you are thinking about giving to a charitable organization, we can make sure it is correctly set up in your estate plan. Your estate plan can give to a charitable organization at different stages, including while you’re alive or after you have passed. Your planned giving can be set up to allow you to receive a stream of income for as long as you live, as well as earn a higher investment yield, and possibly reduce your capital gains or estate taxes.
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Probate Law at a Glance
Probate is the official process in which an estate is settled under supervision of the court. Usually a surviving spouse or adult child is appointed by the court if there is no will, or they are nominated by the decedent’s will. This nominated person is referred to as the Personal Representative and handles the fiduciary responsibilities of the estate.
A Maryland probate lawyer’s primary responsibility is providing guidance to the Personal Representative during the entire probate process. Probate is a long complex process that can be time consuming and stressful. Attorney Robert Burke handles probate administration both professionally and compassionately. He provides his clients with a plethora of information about their duties and responsibilities to make the process as easy as possible. This allows his clients to focus on what is most important, which is coming to terms with their loss.
Should I Retain a Probate Attorney?