Category Archives: Estate Planning and Administration

To see articles written by our attorneys on a range of topics, just use the links to the right.
How to Remove a Trustee from a Trust

Having the right person manage a trust is critical to its success, and there may come a time when removing a trustee is necessary. Though it can be intimidating, understanding how to properly and legally remove a trustee can help make the process go more smoothly. What is a Trustee? A trustee is an individual…READ MORE

Author: Heather L. Sunderman 04/04/2023

What Should I Do With My Living Will After I’ve Signed It?

The Health Care Power of Attorney and the Advance Medical Directive are critically important estate planning documents. The Advance Medical Directive (often called a “Living Will”) allows you to make your wishes known about whether to withhold life support in certain contexts. The Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to name someone (usually called…READ MORE

Author: McMillan Metro Editor 06/24/2021

Students Heading To College Need Health Care Powers Of Attorney

For those of you with children that have attained their 18th birthday and, especially, for those with children that may be heading off to college in the future, it is important that they have a health care power of attorney (HCPOA) in place.  Young adults are highly susceptible to injuries, illnesses and accidents for which…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 07/16/2020

The “Disappeared” Husband In Tiger King

If you’re like me, you’ve seen every episode of the documentary Tiger King on Netflix. As an animal lover and estate planning attorney, the show covered a lot of issues that interest me. The biggest estate planning issue centered around the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s husband, Don. It struck a lot of people as highly…READ MORE

Author: McMillan Metro Editor 04/16/2020

Estate Planning In This Coronavirus Moment

Does this sound like you these days? Fresh out of bed, your day begins with a rush of COVID-19 news. Your email box pings with alerts. Memes crowd your social media feeds. And your smartphone vibrates with texts from worrying friends and family. On top of that, you have more time to think about it…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 03/27/2020

New Laws In Maryland For Estates And Trusts

There are two new laws in Maryland impacting estate planning and administration.  The first deals with what is known as the “spousal election”. Under Maryland law, a surviving spouse has the right to make an election to take a one-third share of their deceased spouse’s estate in lieu of what they were to receive under…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 08/05/2019

Who Should Be In Charge If You Can’t Be?

Choosing the people to whom you want to assign responsibility in case the worst happens is a stumbling block that keeps many of us from creating estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.  Who should my executor be? Who could manage money for kids who will be my heirs? Who would…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 05/29/2019

Who actually owns your home? Check that deed!

Far too often, couples who live in homes together—married or unmarried—don’t understand how the ownership of their homes is actually structured. In the hundreds of times that I’ve sat down with couples to review their estates, we’ve uncovered ownership issues as often as not. Many of those less than ideal situations can be updated or…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 04/28/2019

Renovation Litigation: Here’s how to avoid it

I’ve been a lawyer for 42 years now and I have represented thousands of individuals and businesses.  But among the people who know me well, the real milestone is the fact that I have bought and renovated eight houses during that same time.  During just the past 17 years, my husband and I have owned…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 03/28/2017

Did You Know that You May Need Protection from CPR?

On television shows, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) almost always works. In reality, the success rate is shockingly low. A study of 1177 patients in Rochester, NY who had cardiac arrests in a hospital showed that not more than 20% survived, and only 5% of the patients were alive one year later. If you receive CPR for…READ MORE

Author: agriboff 11/21/2016

Legal Update: New Maryland Law Mandates Private-Sector Retirement Program for All Maryland Employees

The National Institute on Retirement Security estimates that about 45% of private-sector workers are not offered a retirement savings plan by their employer. Moreover, 57% of American workers currently have less than $25,000 in savings. And in Maryland, a bipartisan task force found that one million working residents of the state have virtually no retirement…READ MORE

Author: Cathy LaRue 06/07/2016

Seven Myths of Estate Planning

I’ve represented hundreds of same-sex couples and single LGBT people, and I’ve learned that many of them have mistaken ideas about just what estate planning is and how it works—especially now that marriage is an option.  Sometimes those notions keep them from taking rational and not-so-difficult steps to protect their families and assets. In a…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 03/15/2016

What Happens to Your E-mail and Facebook® Accounts When You Die?

A growing issue involves what happens to our digital assets upon death. On a daily basis, we create vast quantities of “digital assets” in the form of text messages, as well as images such as photos and media. Common examples include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, websites, contact lists, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, electronic books (such as Kindle),…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 03/17/2015

Don’t Play Password Jeopardy

Without looking, can you name the five most important online financial accounts in your life – and the passwords that go with them? I suppose you might be able to do that, especially if you ignore everybody’s advice and use the same password over and over. But now take that test to the next level….READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 09/10/2014

Think Twice Before Rolling Over Your TSP

If you or anyone in your household is a Federal employee, you know that TSP is shorthand for your Thrift Savings Plan – a retirement savings plan that many people outside the government truly envy. As I help clients with their estate plans, a TSP is often one of their biggest assets. Among other things,…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 08/18/2014

Marriage: It’s More and Less Than You Think

In the eight months since the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act, I have witnessed a huge rush to marriage among friends, clients and our community at large.  Many of those people dramatically underestimate the changes that marriage might bring to their lives, while at the same time being lulled into a false sense…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 03/25/2014

Big Issue, Short Take – March 2014

COMING SOON — MARYLAND ESTATE TAX RELIEF:   Last week, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law raising the estate tax exemption.  The Maryland estate tax exemption has been pegged at $1.0 million dollars for years.  With many other states having higher (or unlimited) exemptions, Maryland residents were incentivized to move out of State as…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 03/25/2014

“A new perspective, a new insight”…

Those were the words used by Justice Kennedy to describe our country’s evolving understanding of same-sex marriage. In his opinion finding the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, he declared that “same-sex couples should have the right to marry and so live with pride in themselves and their union in status of equality with…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 06/26/2013

Same-Sex Marriage in Maryland

The vote is in: 2013 will bring same-sex marriage to Maryland. This is a time for celebration, and we look forward to sharing your joy. We know that many of our clients have been waiting to get married until they could do it legally in Maryland. The new law will have many positive implications, especially…READ MORE

Author: Lawrence S. Jacobs 11/07/2012

Recapitalizing Your Business to Maintain Control

A major challenge for closely held family businesses is how to transfer ownership to the next generation without losing control. For some closely held family businesses, the owner will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain control over his business even if it means a viable succession plan is not put into place. Relatively few…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 11/29/2011

Year-End Estate Tax Planning

A full year ago, estate planning attorneys were assuring clients that Congress would never allow the federal estate tax to lapse. There was near universal belief that Congress would either implement a permanent “fix” by establishing an exemption in the range of $3.5 – $5 million or, at a minimum, extend the 2009 exemption of…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 12/07/2010

New Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act

Powers of Attorney are an easy and relatively affordable tool for use by individuals with diminishing mental capacity and physical abilities. They offer a ready means for managing the assets of another person as well as the payment of the day to day expenses. The ease of use has, unfortunately, also led to abuse. Over…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 09/24/2010

Adding a Domestic Partner to Title

In the January issue of the McMillan Metro Alert, we advised our clients that the State of Maryland had carved out a limited exemption from the 10% inheritance tax for the devise of an interest in a principal residence jointly owned by domestic partners to the surviving partner along with the requirements for qualifying for…READ MORE

Author: Donna M. McMillan 08/25/2010

Gifts of LLC Interest Not Qualifying for Annual Exclusion

The gift tax annual exclusion allows an individual to gift $13,000.00 (as indexed for 2010) to an unlimited number of donees each year without paying gift tax. In order to qualify for the annual exclusion, however, a gift must be of a “present interest” in accordance with IRC 2503(b). To qualify as a present interest…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 06/29/2010

Maryland Attorney General Issues Opinion on Same Sex Marriage

Earlier this year, the Maryland Attorney General (“AG”) issued a long awaited opinion regarding the treatment in Maryland of same sex marriages validly created in other jurisdictions. While the AG’s opinion did not constitute a change in the laws of Maryland relating to the rights of same sex couples in Maryland to marry in the…READ MORE

Author: Donna M. McMillan 05/28/2010

Repeal of the Federal Estate Tax Can Hurt Smaller Estates

Under the federal estate tax rules as they existed prior to January 1, 2010, the basis of property, whether real or personal, acquired from a decedent by reason of his or her death, was its fair market value on the date of death (or 6 months later, if the later if the alternate valuation date…READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 03/23/2010

2009 Year-End Tax Alert

Summary Despite the economy remaining largely in the doldrums, there were a variety of benefits which should not be overlooked by taxpayers who are able to take advantage of them. Keying on those which would have the most likely application for the small, medium and large local businesses which comprise the majority of the Firm’s…READ MORE

Author: David W.Hotes 12/21/2009

What Happens When You Die Without A Will?

There are two things you can count on – death and taxes! Both of these issues can be addressed in a Will. If you die without a Will, the assets of your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in the state of your domicile. In Maryland, distribution of assets owned by…READ MORE

Author: Ronald E. Lyons 09/01/2009

In a Divorce, A Beneficiary Designation Trumps the Divorce Agreement

The need for a divorced individual to look at all of his or her beneficiary designations on his or her retirement plans was made clear this week in a unanimous Supreme Court decision which upheld the beneficiary designation set forth in a retirement plan over the waiver of rights to the retirement plan under a…READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 02/01/2009

The Medicare Part D Sign-Up Period for 2009 Ends as of December 31, 2008

The Medicare Part D sign-up period for prescription drug insurance coverage during 2009 runs from November 15, 2008 through December 31, 2008. Medicare Part D allows people 65 and older with no other prescription drug insurance and for younger people receiving Social Security benefits, to obtain drug coverage through numerous private health insurance plans. Each…READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 12/05/2008

Thoughts on the Federal Estate Tax – Part I

During all of the pre-election discussions about taxes, one type of tax has failed to generate much interest in the media: the federal estate tax. However, this is of intense interest to any number of people in this area. The federal estate tax is now an irrational amalgam of competing interests. Currently, each individual has…READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 10/17/2008

Brokerage Company Insurance under the Securities Investor Protection Corporation

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (hereinafter “SIPC”) insures investment accounts in the event of the failure of a brokerage firm that is covered by SIPC (the “covered brokerage firm”). Under SIPC, brokerage accounts in a covered brokerage firm are insured up to $500,000 per account. This may include $100,000 held in the account as cash….READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 10/10/2008

Update on Money Market Guarantees

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Temporary Guarantee Program for Money Market Funds guarantees a $1.00 share price of participating money market fund, if those shares were held on close of business September 19, 2008. The guarantee is triggered if a participating fund liquidates its assets as a result of its net asset value falling below $.995…READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 10/10/2008

New FDIC Coverage Limitations

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, signed into law on October 3, 2008, has raised the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance limits on bank accounts in FDIC insured banks to $250,000 per covered account. This increase is effective for the period October 3, 2008 through December 31, 2009. As a general rule, an individual can have…READ MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman 10/09/2008