William Blackford has been helping clients in estate, probate, trust and other estate-related matters in Severna Park, Maryland as well as Towson, Maryland. Bill handles estate planning and probate needs for families throughout Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County, whether they have simple or complex needs. We help advise families and individuals on planning, administering and managing estates, transferring wealth (e.g., by the use of trusts), or and defending or pursuing litigation relating to estates of decedents. At Blackford & Flohr, we work with you and your loved ones to develop sensible, cost-effective, and appropriate estate plan with the goal of comforting giving peace of mind families, protecting the elderly and beneficiaries, minimizing taxation, protecting assets and honoring the intentions of estate owners.
“Probate” is generally used to refer to the manner through which an estate is administered and settled in court. In Maryland, those matters are handled the Register of Wills and/or the local Orphan’s Court. During the probate process, an executor (also known as a Personal Representative) is appointed by the Court, and this is ordinarily the same person in a decedent’s Last Will & Testament. Once properly appointed, the Personal Representative will use Letters of Administration to begin to assess, gather, liquidate and account for all assets owned by the estate. If there is no will, an individual is appointed by the court to become executor in accordance with the priority established in the Estates & Trusts Article. The primary purpose of the probate process is to create transparency, ensure accountability and prevent fraud after a person passes with the aim of assuring the wishes of the Testator/Testatrix are honored. It is a good system the helps give you and your loved ones confidence that your estate is properly handled, that the will is valid, creditors have been paid, all necessary people have been notified, and the estate property has been identified and valued. During this process you will also satisfy all tax-related claims or debts of the deceased person.
The probate process is not necessarily any different or more difficult than a trust, but, does tend to result in more consistent and transparent/fair outcomes. The rules for probate of estates are complex, but capable counsel can guide you and your family through it. The process will involve filing a petition for probate, finding and gathering assets, monies, etc., completing final income tax and estate tax returns, reviewing and paying claims, filing final accounting, and much more.
The loss of a loved one is a difficult thing to manage in the first place, but dealing with the probate process alone can make it much more stressful and complicated. To ease your concerns, the assistance of a Maryland probate lawyer can be a key asset to get you through this difficult time. Our goal at Blackford & Flohr is to make this process as stress-free and streamlined as possible. Our Severna Park probate attorneys have the education and experience to help you through the probate process with transparency, communication, and attention to detail.
Our attorneys understand the importance of estate planning. Whether a simple will or a more complicated estate plan is warranted (which usually deals with the amount of assets but can include special needs or aspects of your wishes or family), we can help. Our estate planning attorneys channel our full attention into helping you create a thorough estate plan to securely and comprehensively understand manage and plan for the future disposition of your assets. Regardless of the monetary value of your assets, estate planning is a necessary part of planning for the future. It allows for peace of mind to help control of your assets/estate and the ability to provide for your loved ones as you see fit. It can also include charitable bequests, creation of testamentary trust and other planning vehicles. Examples of essential estate planning documents anyone should have are a durable power of attorney, health care directives, and written Last Will And Testament. There are many details that must be considered, so working with a Severna Park estate planning attorney is essential.
At Blackford & Flohr, we think of estate planning as a positive, cooperative and rewarding process. Rather than seeing such planning as morose or moribund, when you work with a Baltimore probate attorney, you will make caring and responsible choices to ensure your family will receive all of the assets that you have worked to earn and protect during your life. And this effort will give life and carry that on for a positive future. Estate planning involves creating a strategy for managing your assets that must be carefully documented. Many factors need to be considered, such as the age and health of your beneficiaries. We can help you make an ironclad estate plan that guarantees your loved ones receive your assets according to your wishes.
A person who passes without a will passes “intestate.” This means that a prescribed formula will be used to determine intestate succession. Allowing the State of Maryland (by the intestacy statute) to make these determinations creates the possibility of the wrong person(s) becoming the beneficiary of your estate. This can be avoided, but it is crucial that you work with a wills and estates attorney to ensure your estate passes to the person or people you choose.
Blackford & Flohr can help you create a strong and secure will and estate plan that communicates your specific wishes. We can provide you with the insight and/or foresight needed to avoid common mistakes, explain terms, offer advice, and answer all questions you might have. Working with a Maryland wills lawyer will help mitigate complications and allow you the peace of mind that your assets have been properly allocated.
Contact Blackford & Flohr for legal assistance with estate planning, probate, and creating a last will and trust in Severna Park, Maryland, and the surrounding regions.