Blog

Many First-Time Homebuyers Get Help from Family

Contrary to popular opinion, younger homebuyers under the age of 35, generally considered part of the Millennial generation, are interested in buying homes and are now entering the real estate market in greater numbers. Many of these younger buyers receive help from parents or other family in order to bolster their finances for the purchase. In 2015, 75% of young buyers received financial help from family for the down payment, closing costs, or other expenses, according to TIME Magazine.

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Charitable Gifts in Your Will or Trust

It’s common for individuals to want to give to specific charities in a will or trust. However, there are some items you should consider when creating your bequest.

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No-Contest Clauses

There are many stories, articles, and news blurbs that have covered cases in which inheritors have decided to contest a will and the argument has entered the public sphere. These high-profile cases generally have to do with celebrities or multi-millionaires, but they also provide valuable lessons for those of us who are not in the public eye.

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Advance Directives and Dementia

A standard practice in most estate plans is to include advance directives which state your wishes for health care, end-of-life situations, do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, life support, and mental health. These advance directives and medical powers of attorney have come under scrutiny in the last few years for a number of reasons. Some argue that the directives are not specific enough. In other cases, court battles have arisen in attempts to settle disputes about whether a directive should be enforced.

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Mental Health Advance Directives

Just as you might make an advance directive for your physical health and physical care, you can now make an advance directive for mental health. Only 25 states have passed legislation establishing authority for psychiatric advance directives, but there is a growing awareness and interest in obtaining such documents as awareness grows of the importance of mental health. Even in those states that do not currently have legislation specifically recognizing the authority of a mental health directive, similar care is available under healthcare power of attorney statues.

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2017 Legislative Updates to Probate Administration

The Maryland General Assembly passed two bills this year that have significant effects on probate administration. Here is a breakdown of the bills and how they could affect you.

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2017 Maryland Legislative Updates to Estate Planning

The Maryland General Assembly passed a handful of bills this year that have significant effects on estate planning. Here is a breakdown of the bills and how they could affect you.

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What Does it Mean to be Intestate in Maryland?

I recently found out about a show by the BBC called "Heir Hunters" and it caught my attention. The premise of the show is that probate firms in England receive cases and have to track down potential heirs to receive the contents of the estate. In this case, the heirs are siblings, cousins, or more distant relations. If there are no heirs, the assets are given to the Treasury.

The estates wound up in that state because the owners never made a legitimate will, or any will at all. Thus it was up to the government, via the probate firms, to decide who would inherit what remained of the estates.

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3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Put off Estate Planning

Too many people put off estate planning, including creating a will, until it’s too late. It’s a too-common scenario: A loved one has passed on suddenly or is unable to make decisions on his/her own anymore, and the family doesn’t know where to find important information. The family doesn’t know what their loved one’s preferences are regarding medical decisions, end-of-life issues, or division of assets. Meanwhile, simple day-to-day items still need to be tackled, such as paying bills, and a representative hasn’t been identified who could help handle those items. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t put off estate planning, regardless of age. Here are only a few:

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How to Choose a Personal Representative, Trustee and Agent

Choosing a personal representative, an agent for your financial and medical power of attorney, and the successor trustee of your revocable living trust is one of the more difficult parts of estate planning. Often you end up choosing the same person for each role, depending on the dynamics of your family and your particular circumstances. An agent under a durable power of attorney, appointment of health care agent, or a successor trustee, is the person who will handle specific decisions and issues on your behalf should you become incapacitated. A personal representative, or successor trustee, will handle your affairs upon your death. It’s a vital role, and choosing this special person should be handled with care and deliberation. In addition, it’s typically required for a second person to be named as an alternate in case the first person you name can’t serve in the role.

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Four Ways to Help Elderly Family Members Ensure Care

Far too often, elders do not have their affairs in order in time, leaving heirs or caregivers to try to sort out what should happen with accounts, property, or medical decisions. Or elders outlive their heirs or friends and have no one to turn to in a time of need. Here are just a few tips for helping your elderly friends or family members make sure they are taken care of in terms of legal items during their most vulnerable times.

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Just In Time For Tax Season

Just in time for tax season! What are the various taxes that may affect an estate? Here’s a very brief overview of two of the taxes that could affect you. Make sure you talk to a lawyer or accountant prior to taking any action based on your thoughts from reading this general summary.

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Ensure Your Estate Planning Documents Are Updated

If you experience a major life change, one of your top priorities should be ensuring your estate planning documents are kept up to date.

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3 Reasons For Young People to Have a Will

In 2014, Forbes reported that 51% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 did not have wills1. The percentage is higher for those below that age range, as 62% of people between 45 and 54 don’t have wills, and it gets worse from there.

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Options For Pets After Your Death: What would happen to your pets if they outlive you?

You're an animal lover. You have one or more beloved pets. You give them the best care you can and you know your animals are happy. But do you have a plan for what would happen to your pets if they should outlive you?

Continue Reading...

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Put off Estate Planning

Too many people put off estate planning, including creating a will, until it’s too late. It’s a too-common scenario: A loved one has passed on suddenly or is unable to make decisions on his/her own anymore, and the family doesn’t know where to find important information. The family doesn’t know what their loved one’s preferences are regarding medical decisions, end-of-life issues, or division of assets. Meanwhile, simple day-to-day items still need to be tackled, such as paying bills, and a representative hasn’t been identified who could help handle those items. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t put off estate planning, regardless of age. Here are only a few:

Continue Reading...

How to Choose a Personal Representative, Trustee and Agent

Choosing a personal representative, an agent for your financial and medical power of attorney, and the successor trustee of your revocable living trust is one of the more difficult parts of estate planning. Often you end up choosing the same person for each role, depending on the dynamics of your family and your particular circumstances. An agent under a durable power of attorney, appointment of health care agent, or a successor trustee, is the person who will handle specific decisions and issues on your behalf should you become incapacitated. A personal representative, or successor trustee, will handle your affairs upon your death. It’s a vital role, and choosing this special person should be handled with care and deliberation. In addition, it’s typically required for a second person to be named as an alternate in case the first person you name can’t serve in the role.

Continue Reading...

Four Ways to Help Elderly Family Members Ensure Care

Far too often, elders do not have their affairs in order in time, leaving heirs or caregivers to try to sort out what should happen with accounts, property, or medical decisions. Or elders outlive their heirs or friends and have no one to turn to in a time of need. Here are just a few tips for helping your elderly friends or family members make sure they are taken care of in terms of legal items during their most vulnerable times.

Continue Reading...

Just In Time For Tax Season

Just in time for tax season! What are the various taxes that may affect an estate? Here’s a very brief overview of two of the taxes that could affect you. Make sure you talk to a lawyer or accountant prior to taking any action based on your thoughts from reading this general summary.

Continue Reading...

Ensure Your Estate Planning Documents Are Updated

If you experience a major life change, one of your top priorities should be ensuring your estate planning documents are kept up to date.

Continue Reading...

3 Reasons For Young People to Have a Will

In 2014, Forbes reported that 51% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 did not have wills1. The percentage is higher for those below that age range, as 62% of people between 45 and 54 don’t have wills, and it gets worse from there.

Continue Reading...

Options For Pets After Your Death: What would happen to your pets if they outlive you?

You're an animal lover. You have one or more beloved pets. You give them the best care you can and you know your animals are happy. But do you have a plan for what would happen to your pets if they should outlive you?

Continue Reading...