Wills. Probate. Intestate Succession. Power of Attorney. Guardianship. Trusts.
Acknowledging our own mortality can be exhaustingly difficult. But the only way to protect our loved ones is by accepting that we will not always be here to help them. Managing that transition, and ensuring that the people you care for most are the ones who gain from your lifetime of work, is a vital duty we all owe to our families. Just as importantly, by planning appropriately, you can also manage your own financial and medical concerns, even when you would least expect it.
Let the team at Spencer & Stahl show you how creating a wise estate plan can be much less costly, and must less exhausting, then you ever thought possible.
Frequently asked Estate Planning questions
These are some frequently asked questions encountered in the estate planning arena. It's important to realize that it is impossible to address your situation without knowing the facts specific to your life. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help you plan for your goals, and to protect your family.
Why do I need a Will and a Power of Attorney?
A will doesn't do anything to impact your life until after your death. As a result, it is truly one of the most giving things you can do for your family. While you're alive, however, a power of attorney is vital to help you. A Financial Power of Attorney empowers someone else to manage your financial affairs. A Medical Power of Attorney empowers someone else to make medical decisions for you while you are unable, and goes on to describe your wishes in certain end-of-life situations. All 3 documents are vital for any basic estate planning.
I don't have any money. Do I still need a Will?
A will isn't just for people who are wealthy. A will guides the rest of the world as to your wishes about two of the most important things in your life - your assets and your children. Without a Will, there is a potential for a legal battle over who will care for your children. A will also describes your wishes for who will get your possessions, and who will manage your estate.
What about the "death tax" I keep hearing about on T.V.? Do I need a trust to avoid it?
Death and taxes. How many times have you heard about it? And the worst is if they both happen at the same time. Fortunately, for most of us, the "death tax" simply won't apply. Maryland's estate tax doesn't effect the first part of a person's estate - $1.5 million in 2015; $2 Million in 2016; $3 Million in 2017; $4 Million in 2018; and "recoupled" with the Federal tax amount (currently $5.34 Million) in 2019. Intelligent estate planning, including the potential use of various trusts and other legal entities, can futher limit the taxable amount of an estate. Estate planning, and the use of trusts, are intricate processes that require discussion with your attorney to best determine the tools to use to fit your life and your needs.
What about a Gun Trust?
A Gun Trust is used for certain types of firearms, either to streamline to acquisition process or to simplify the transfer process to trusted loved ones upon your death. It is vital to correctly prepare, maintain and fund a gun trust, and to only put certain items, and types of items, into the trust assets.
The Maryland Register of Wills oversees the proper and timely administration of estates. They also track estates and provide safekeeping services for Wills. Their website permits you to search current estates as well.