Estate Planning and Administration

Estate Planning

Preparing estate planning documents allows you to have peace of mind as you age.  These documents typically include:

  • Will: A document that tells family and friends what to do with your property upon your death, avoids family disputes, and names your executor or personal representative to handle your estate after your death.
  • Advance Medical Directive: A document that tells doctors and healthcare providers what end of life medical treatment you want to receive and names the person(s) you want to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: A document that names a financial agent (for example, a trusted family member or friend) to make financial decisions for you if you are not able or not competent to make the decisions yourself.  This document can avoid the more drastic and cumbersome step of someone becoming your court-appointed guardian in order to assist you with your financial matters.
  • Life Estate Deed: A document that allows homeowners to grant themselves the right to live in their home for the rest of their natural life while simultaneously designating who will take ownership of the home upon their death.  If a Life Estate Deed is in place, a home will not be included in the homeowner’s estate upon death; rather, title to the home will automatically vest in the designated person(s) upon the homeowner’s death.  Our attorneys can counsel you on the many important factors to consider when deciding if a Life Estate Deed is appropriate in your situation.

Estate Administration

The estate administration process can be difficult to navigate. Estate administration involves the identification and management of a person’s assets upon death, the payment of the person’s expenses and debts, and the distribution of the remaining assets to the person’s heirs or legatees.  Personal representatives might need guidance along the way, including preparation of a Personal Representative Deed.

  • Personal Representatives: Have a fiduciary duty to efficiently settle the estate and distribute the assets in accordance with the terms of the will or the laws of intestacy. They must fulfill this duty.
  • Preparation Of A Personal Representative Deed: If an estate contains real property situated in Baltimore City that is ready to be distributed to the appropriate heirs or legatees, you may need to prepare a Personal Representative Deed to transfer title and assist in its recording in the Land Records for Baltimore City.
  • Interested Parties: These are persons who believe they have an interest in an estate – these people also have rights.