For more than 35 years we have focused exclusively on the law of fiduciaries and the law of estates and trusts. Some firms offer, or claim to offer, a wide variety of services to clients. We do not. Our clients benefit because we concentrate on the law of fiduciary relationships, estates, and trusts. By concentrating our practice, our firm has developed deep experience and knowledge in our field.
Of course, there are other lawyers and law firms that have an estates and trusts focus. Many of those lawyers and firms, however, concentrate on one, or perhaps only a few aspects of a broader estates and trusts practice. It is common, for example, for a lawyer to engaged in the estate planning aspects of the practice but not to be involved in any fiduciary litigation. Others may focus on planning but not prepare federal or state estate tax returns. We find that there is an important relationship among all facets of the broader estates and trusts practice that strengthens the quality of the lawyer’s advice. Our firm strikes a balance between a broad practice experience but within a relatively narrow niche. Within our practice niche, we do it all:
- Estate and Asset Protection Planning. Estate planning is the process of organizing personal and financial affairs to be prepared in the event of disability and to arrange for the orderly transmittal of property at death to the client’s intended beneficiaries. The key is to fashion a plan specifically designed for our clients’ needs and desires. We work with our clients, taking the time necessary to ascertain those needs and desires, and to explore various ways to implement a tailor-made estate plan. To do this, we prepare wills, various types of trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, and other estate planning documents. We explore with clients effective techniques to protect the assets going to their heirs safe from the creditors, or potential creditors, of those heirs. For clients with closely held businesses, we prepare partnership and LLC documents to facilitate business succession planning. Estate and succession planning documents can be simple, complex and/or focus on tax planning depending on the needs of the client. We explore the unique circumstances of every client and their planning goals and then tailor the documents to address those needs.
- Estate, Trust, and other Fiduciary Litigation. We are not a general litigation firm. Rather, we are a fiduciary litigation firm. We handle disputes over the meaning of estate planning documents, arguments involving personal representatives or trustees, and challenges to documents based on lack of capacity or undue influence. We also handle disputes involving closely held businesses. As with trust and estate litigation, fiduciary relationships govern many aspects of those involved in a family business. We regularly appear before Maryland’s orphans’ courts and its circuit courts. We also routinely handle appeals in the Maryland’s appellate courts.
- Estate and Trust Administration. Estate and Trust administration is the process of winding up a decedent’s financial affairs and implementing the plan contained in the will or trust. If a decedent dies without a valid estate plan in place, the estate needs to be settled in accordance with state law. There may be estate or inheritance taxes that need to be addressed. There may be post-mortem planning opportunities involving tax elections, disclaimers, and/or funding decisions that could favorably impact the intended beneficiaries. We prepare all estate and income tax returns in-house so we can offer seamless administration services from beginning to end.
Clients Benefit from Our Approach
Handling every aspect of our practice area creates a synergy that strengthens the handling of each matter. Our approach to planning, for example, is strengthened by our estate and trust administration practice. Our handling of both planning and administration is informed by the lessons learned from our fiduciary litigation practice. Our fiduciary litigation practice, in turn, benefits from our understanding the of the substantive issues that arise in our planning and administration practices.
Clients Benefit from Our Firm Culture
The firm follows a “one-firm” firm system where the client is treated as a client of the firm, not of any individual attorney. This starts from the initial meeting and continues to the end. This approach strengthens teamwork and enhances client services. The “one-firm” firm approach discourages soloing and territorial disputes and thus keeps the focus where it belongs: on the client. This collaborative approach, coupled with our involvement in all aspects of estates and trusts law, lets us deliver the highest quality of client services. For More See About Us