Law Office of Rick Todd Blog

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Common questions for an Estate Planning Attorney in Howard County, Maryland

Do you need a trust? Trusts are used to avoid the estate tax, protect assets from lawsuits and avoid probate. An estate planning attorney will tell you whether that is necessary. Trusts are more expensive than wills are alone. The trusts used to avoid the estate tax and protect assets are very expensive. You may also not need them.

Do I have to go through probate? Yes, you probably have to go through probate. Probate is only avoided by estates that are insolvent and small. A revocable living trust will not completely help you avoid probate.

Do I need to have an estate plan? You don’t have to have an estate plan, but you almost certainly should. This isn’t a case of asking a barber whether you need a haircut; estate planning documents protect you before you die (power of attorney and advance directive) and protect your estate from creditors and taxes.

Is getting your estate plan done expensive? I will find a price that is fair to all parties.

What documents come with an estate plan? Will, Power of Attorney, Advance Directive (living will), HIPAA waiver, Final disposition.

Will the documents work? All the documents have issues that are out of the control of the estate planning attorney. Most attorneys will not discuss this for obvious reasons. Powerful institutions like banks do not like to accept powers of attorney for security reasons. There are ways around this that I can explain. It is unfortunate.

I don’t want to pay taxes when I die. Estate taxes are often avoidable or can be minimized. Income taxes from your last year of life are probably impossible to avoid and may require an accountant to handle.

Is probate a long process? It can be, but it has benefits. The biggest benefit is that it helps you avoid creditors. Another benefit is that you have some guidance from the register of wills which is free. You won’t get that with most trusts.

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The Law Offices of Rick Todd has offices located in Columbia, Chevy Chase, Fairfax, Virginia, and Maryland and serves clients throughout Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Fulton, Rockville, Bethesda, Potomac, Laurel, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Washington D.C.

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