Columbia Estate Planning Attorneys Provide Compassionate, Comprehensive Services
Helping clients with all their estate planning needs for more than two decades
Estate planning is a wonderful tool, allowing you to decide how to allocate the wealth you worked so hard to build throughout your life, even after you pass. Estate planning is for everyone, allowing you to provide for your surviving relatives, offer gifts to meaningful causes, and protect family property and heirlooms in the most efficient way possible. The skilled Columbia estate planning attorneys at Altman and Associates understand the importance of having an effective, comprehensive estate plan that offers you confidence and peace of mind while you’re living. We have a well-established reputation for delivering skillful representation that meets all your individual estate planning needs.
What are the benefits of estate planning?
Many people wonder, “If there are federal and Maryland laws governing inheritances, why do I need additional trust and estate documents?” In fact, having a well-organized estate plan can both protect you and your loved ones while you’re living, as well as ensure your assets are distributed in the most efficient way possible both before and after you pass. This is true regardless of the size of your estate. Just a few reasons to create an estate plan include:
- Tax Planning – In addition to federal estate tax, Maryland also has its own tax for large estates as well as an inheritance tax. We work with you on strategies to maximize the tax efficiency of your estate.
- Health Care Decisions – We all hope that we’ll be able to continue to make our own health care decisions as we age. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. An accident or disability can lead to the need for both long-term care and instant, critical decision-making. We prepare a power of attorney, health care directives, and other instruments to ensure you are cared for in accordance with your wishes.
- Charitable Planning – When done smartly, your estate plan is an excellent opportunity to leave your legacy with the causes most important to you.
- Avoiding Probate – The probate process can be excruciatingly long, leading to additional fees and long wait times for your beneficiaries. An effectual estate plan will streamline your probate experience, minimizing hassle and expense for your loved ones.
- Asset Protection – As you age, life inevitably changes. You may switch jobs, have children and grandchildren, buy life insurance, or purchase a second home. We carefully review all assets, making sure they are titled correctly, have the correct beneficiaries named, and are included in your collective estate plan.
Our experienced Columbia estate planning attorneys know the benefits of estate planning, as well as the consequence of not having a plan. From complex asset structures, to simple trust and estate documentation, we bring more than 20 years of experience and a custom-tailored approach to each family we serve.
What happens if you die without a will?
Dying without a will, also referred to as dying intestate, means your property will be distributed to your relatives in accordance with Maryland law. Your intestate property will likely include any assets you solely own that would have been passed through a will. This will exclude any life insurance policies or retirement accounts for which you already named a beneficiary.
Maryland provides for a number of scenarios, with corresponding inheritance structures. For example, if you have a spouse but no children, the spouse inherits everything. Alternatively, if you have a spouse and minor children your spouse inherits half of your estate and your children receive the rest. Finally, if you have a spouse and adult children your spouse receives $15,000 worth of your property and half of the balance. Your adult children receive the rest. If you are unmarried, your property usually goes to your parents or siblings, depending on whether your parents are still living.
Without an estate plan, your loved ones have to grapple through the court system, with little control over the distribution of your property. Additionally, they have no official instructions on how to care for you, and pay for that care, in the event you cannot make those decisions. Don’t leave your estate to chance. We understand estate planning is a delicate matter for you and your loved ones. Our thoughtful, thorough approach is designed to make you feel secure as you look to the future.
Extensive estate planning as unique as your family
The award-winning Columbia estate planning at Altman and Associates are dedicated to creating an estate plan that works for you and your family. We take time to sit down and address all of your needs and goals. Our offices are conveniently located in the Rockville, Bethesda area and in Columbia, Maryland. To learn more about your options, call us at 301-468-3220. Or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We will be happy to provide you with legal advice conveyed with Integrity, Honesty, Experience, and Professionalism.