That is a distinct possibility in my house. But seriously, making provisions for our beloved pets or service animals is an important issue and potentially an estate planning consideration. While this is most easily understood in terms of your typical family pet such as a dog or cat, it gets more significant if you own other animals such as horses. At the end of the day, a pet trust might be the best solution. Our Read More
Where Do I Store My Estate Planning Documents?
“Now what do I do with these?” says almost every estate planning client upon final execution or signing of their documents. Where do you store them for safekeeping and who do you tell of their existence? The short answer is that you store them in a very safe and secure location. And you tell those people who need to know where that is and how they can gain access. Well, what does that mean and how do I do Read More
What Estate Tax Will I have to Pay?
One of the most frequent questions asked by potential clients is “how much tax am I going to have to pay on my estate”? While tax mitigation is certainly a consideration, the vast majority of people worry about this issue far too much in my opinion when it comes to estate planning. And notice how I used the phrase tax mitigation as opposed to tax avoidance. Most of us want to reduce the amount of taxes we pay. We Read More
When is the Best Time for My Kids to Get Their Inheritance?
If you are like most parents, you want your estate to be evenly divided and given to your children if your spouse pre-deceases you. That is not necessarily set in stone; you can divide it up any way you see fit. But most people do follow the first scheme - by dividing their estate into even shares to give to their kids as their inheritance. But what does that mean if your kids are minors and how does that affect Read More
How Much of My Estate Does My Spouse Get?
The portion of your estate that passes to your spouse is called the marital share. Typically, you would provide for your spouse by indicating in your Will how much of your estate is to go to them upon your death. We often refer to an “I Love You Dearly Will” as being one that leaves everything to my spouse if they outlive me or everything to my children if my spouse pre-deceases me. For the vast majority of married Read More
How Do I Change My Will?
Is it ever too early to create a Will? The short answer is NO. Better to create a Will too early than too late. A properly constructed Will can serve you for many years before you need to update or revise it. But if circumstances arise that necessitate changing your Will, it does not have to be difficult. So, how do you change your Will? Why Change your Will? Your Will should be amended or changed anytime a major Read More
Testamentary Trusts? Another Kind of Trust?
Last week we discussed pour-over Wills in the context of a revocable living trust. This week I want to talk about testamentary trusts. These types of trusts are what we might call springing or contingent trusts. They are created by your Last Will and Testament - hence the description testamentary trust. What do we mean by springing or contingent trust? Normally a trust is created by a stand-alone trust document. A Read More
Pour-Over Will? What the Heck is That?
I know what a Last Will and Testament is; but, what the heck is a Pour-Over Will? It’s a great question that we often get asked. It’s also one around which a great deal of confusion exists. Let’s sort it out. Pour-Over Wills Work with Trusts Pour-Over Wills work in conjunction with a Trust - be they Revocable Living Trusts (the most common) or Irrevocable Trusts. Does that mean that you need both a Trust and a Read More
How Much Does a Will Cost?
How much does a Will cost? It is perhaps our most frequently asked questions. At The Tyra Law Firm, we get this question a lot. Of course, it makes sense to want to know what you are getting into and to budget accordingly. As you begin thinking about your estate plan, take some time to shop around, and find the right attorney for you. While the price may be a factor, finding an attorney whose process and philosophy Read More
Obtaining Legal Guardianship in Maryland
In the State of Maryland, the process of obtaining legal guardianship is fairly straightforward. However, it can be a long and detailed process. If you have a loved one who is unable to care and make decisions for themselves, you will likely need to go through this process if they do not already have a valid Power of Attorney nor an Advanced Health Care Directive in place. If the vulnerable individual does not have Read More