Got a Question About Your Case? Browse Our FAQs for the Answer
Do you have any questions about Estate Planning? Have you been named in a D.C. medical malpractice suit? Do you need help with alcoholic beverage license compliance in Maryland? Our FAQ page offers quick answers to many pressing legal concerns in business law, health care statutes, and other potential trial situations.
- Page 1
What is a Durable Power of Attorney and when do I need one?
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you know and trust to make your personal financial decisions even when you cannot. Without a valid power of attorney, if you are incapacitated, then you and your family will be involved in a proceeding known as a guardianship. This is the court proceeding where a judge determines who should make these decisions for you under the ongoing supervision of the court.
What is a Revocable Trust?
This is an agreement with three parties: the Grantor, the Trustee or Trustees, and the Trust Beneficiaries. For example, a husband and wife may name themselves all three parties to create their trust, manage all the assets transferred to the trust, and have full use and enjoyment of all the trust assets as beneficiaries. Further "back-up" trustees can step in under the terms of the trust to manage the assets should the couple become incapacitated or die. Special provisions in the trust also control the management and distribution of assets to heirs in the event of the grantor’s death. With proper planning, the couple also can avoid or eliminate death taxes on their estate. The Revocable Trust may allow them to accomplish all this outside of any court proceeding.
Who Should Have a Revocable Living Trust?
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor married or single, if you owned titled assets such as a house and want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your death or incapacity, consider a revocable trust. A trust allows you to bring all of your assets together under one plan.
What is Intestacy?
If you die without even a Will (intestate), your assets will be distributed according to intestacy succession, which is determined by state law.
What are Beneficiary Designations?
You may avoid probate on the transfer of some assets at your death through the use of beneficiary designations. These, along with joint tenancies, revocable trusts, transfer on death and payable on death accounts, are also known as non-probate transfers. The best known example is life insurance death benefits.
What is Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship?
This is a common form of asset ownership between spouses or between individuals and siblings or children. Joint tenancy has the advantage of avoiding probate at the death of the first joint tenant. Doing so may subject their assets to loss through the debts, bankruptcies, divorces and/or lawsuits of additional joint tenants.
What is Tenancy by the Entirety?
In Maryland, as in many states, spouses can hold property as tenants by the entirety, a form of joint tenancy that affords additional protection for one spouse from the creditors of the other.
What is an Advance Medical Directive?
An Advance Medical Directive allows you to state your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or have withheld/withdrawn if you are in a terminal condition (without reasonable hope of recovery), persistent vegetative state or end-stage condition, and cannot express your wishes yourself. In Maryland the Advance Directive enables you to select what type of medical support you wish, and to nominate healthcare attorneys-in-fact to make those decisions in accordance with your stated preferences.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process that takes place after a person has passed away with assets in his or her sole name, whether or not a Will or other estate planning documents, such as a revocable trust, are in place. Depending on the nature of the person’s assets and the efficacy of their estate planning documents, probate proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, the court proceeding and associated documents are all a matter of public record.