Estate Planning

We advise all types of clients on their estate planning needs, from individuals with modest estates who want “simple wills” with no trusts to wealthier clients who require complex tax-savings techniques.  We advise clients in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York. We represent individuals in all stages of life, from young families who need guardians and trusts for their minor children to older individuals who want to gift to grandchildren while still ensuring they have sufficient assets for their own needs.  We have experience in setting up estate plans for “non-traditional families,” including same-sex couples, single-parent families, second-marriages, blended families and grandparents raising grandchildren.    We also work with pet-owners to plan for future care of their pets, whether through wills or stand-alone pet trusts. An estate plan is very individualized and we do not provide cookie-cutter documents or even approach any two clients in the same manner.  Estate plans typically include, at minimum, a will (with or without trusts), a power of attorney document, and a living will/power of attorney for health care.  Depending on the particular client’s needs and goals, it may also include other features, such as beneficiary designation changes for life insurance or retirement assets, stand-alone trust documents, or other instruments.  We will review all of your assets to be sure they are appropriately titled and that you have proper financial and insurance vehicles in place.  An estate plan encompasses many aspects of an individual’s or family’s financial plan, but also addresses non-financial components such as nomination of guardians for minor children and recipients of specific assets.  For the business owner, a complete estate plan also addresses business succession and ownership issues. The estate planning process can be a very daunting experience for many people, and we strive to make it a pleasant and personalized one.  Our hope is that when you come to us, you will feel “at home” and comfortable discussing some of your most personal matters. We start the process with an initial intake form, which will help us determine the type of estate plan that may be right for you and will also help us to determine any tax or other issues that we need to consider.  Then, we will have an initial meeting in which we will ask you a series of questions and go through several hypothetical situations.  This is not meant to scare you, but it is important to allow you to fully consider every aspect of your estate plan.  After our initial meeting, we will send you draft documents with an explanatory letter and ask you to follow up with any questions or changes you may have.  Finally, we will meet to sign the documents,  which must be done with particular formalities, in accordance with local law in order for the documents to be valid. We are available to meet with you on your time, either during business hours or in the evenings, and can meet at our office, at your home or another location preferred by you.  Please contact our firm if you would like to discuss the estate planning process further or are ready to begin