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Wills, Trusts, and Probate

Wills, Trusts, & Probate Lawyers in Bowie

Experienced Legal Guidance in Anne Arundel & Prince George’s Counties

Your estate consists of everything you own, from your home and car to your personal belongings and bank accounts. Outlining your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate to your loved ones is a key element of a process known as estate planning. While estate planning is generally associated with the very wealthy, it can be highly beneficial for everyone. Without a plan in place, your estate can wind up in a lengthy and expensive probate process that does not properly execute your final wishes. These kinds of complications can be avoided with the help of an attorney who is experienced in all of the legal tools available in estate planning.

At Adams Law Office, LLC, you can sit down with one of our accomplished attorneys to discuss your estate planning needs. We can also help you or your loved ones navigate the probate process. Our firm is dedicated to providing highly qualified legal representation for every case we handle. We pride ourselves on the close relationships we form with clients through our long-standing presence in the communities we serve.


Need legal advice and guidance about your estate matter? Call Adams Law Office, LLC at (301) 900-5940 today. We offer free consultations, weekend availability, and payment plans.


Wills & Trusts

Both wills and trusts lay out how you want your property to be handled after you have died. However, these two legal instruments are very different from each other, with trusts going beyond property management to guidance regarding finances, your healthcare, and more. One of our Bowie wills, trusts, & probate attorneys can educate you on what kind of estate planning devices will work best for your circumstances.

A Last Will & Testament

A will, short for “last will and testament,” is a relatively simple document that takes effect after you die. It can provide instructions as to:

  • How and when you want your assets and property to be distributed
  • Who should take over as guardian and inheritance manager for your minor children
  • Who you would like to take over your business
  • Any other property-related matters

In your will, you will name the executor of your estate, whose purpose is to ensure your wishes are carried out according to your instructions. Your executor’s responsibility will be to gather or identify your assets, pay off your debts and any taxes owed, and distribute what remains to your heirs and beneficiaries per your instructions. A will can help prevent disputes between family members and make other legal decisions easier. If you fail to have a will in place when you pass away, you will die “intestate,” which means your assets and property will be distributed by a judge according to state laws—without any input from you.

Trusts

Like wills, trusts help you outline your wishes regarding asset distribution, but they have other advantages as well. In some cases, for example, a trust can help your beneficiaries avoid probate because the assets and property named in the trust can be passed on immediately by the designated trustee.

A trust is created when you transfer your assets and property into a separate legal entity with a named trustee to manage it for the benefit of your beneficiaries. Trusts can be set up for various purposes and can dictate both how and when assets will be distributed.

Examples of different kinds of trusts include:

  • Asset protection trusts (which shield property from creditors)
  • Living vs. testamentary trusts (going into effect immediately vs. upon death)
  • Revocable vs. irrevocable trusts (changeable vs. permanent)
  • Charitable trusts (to distribute assets to designated charities)
  • Special needs trusts (set up for the protection of a dependent with a disability)
  • Spendthrift trust (which keeps most of the assets over a set period of time with scheduled distributions; protects the beneficiary from losing the entire amount to debt collection or poor decision-making)

What Is Probate?

Probate is the process in which the court oversees the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries after you die. If you have a will, the court will verify it and conduct the distribution according to the will’s contents. If you do not have a will, the court will rely on state law in conducting the distribution. Similarly, the court will assign an executor if your will does not appoint one.

If you have been named as the executor or personal representative of the estate of a deceased relative, you may need legal assistance in probate administration. As the executor, you will be responsible for:

  • Locating and identifying all of the property and assets
  • Having those assets appraised for value
  • Handling any disputes among beneficiaries and others involving the estate
  • Paying off the debts and other expenses of the estate
  • Distributing the remaining property and assets to the heirs and beneficiaries

Probating an estate can be a complex matter. Having the legal advice and guidance of an attorney can help you better understand your obligations and legal rights.

Our Estate Planning Process at Adams Law Office, LLC

STEP ONE – FREE CONSULTATION

Prior to the scheduled appointment, we will e-mail or mail an introductory packet containing this process outline, an estate planning questionnaire (to be filled out and brought to the consultation), estate planning FAQs, estate planning terms, and an About Us document to familiarize you with our firm. If you are married, both you and your spouse should attend.

In the consultation, your attorney will:

  • Answer any initial questions you have
  • Review your questionnaire
  • Get to know your estate planning goals and needs
  • Review what estate planning tools would address those goals and needs
  • Recommend a specific plan
  • Provide a fee quote based on the recommended plan
  • Answer any follow-up questions

If you decide to proceed with the estate plan, we will then proceed to:

STEP TWO – DESIGN PHASE

The design phase can be done:

  • Immediately (upon payment of 50% of the quoted fee);
  • At a later scheduled consultation in the office; or
  • During a later scheduled appointment over the phone.

During this process, we will assign the fiduciaries, create the distribution plans, and determine all other details of the plan.

STEP THREE – DRAFTING PHASE

Your attorney will draft the estate plan and send it to you for review. This is your opportunity to make any necessary changes.

STEP FOUR – SIGNING CEREMONY

We will review the estate plan with you and answer any remaining questions. We will then officially execute the plan.

STEP FIVE – FUNDING PHASE

Assets are funded according to the plan.

STEP SIX – MAINTENANCE PHASE

We can conduct an annual review and maintenance of your estate plan, if you purchase these services.

Going above & beyond for our clients

What You Can Expect with Us
  • Over a Decade of Experience

    Over the last 10 years, we have developed a relationship with the trustees and judges in the area, helping to get the top-quality representation you deserve.

  • Streamlined Process

    We have streamlined our legal processes so preparation and processing are as efficient as possible and the result is what you are looking for.

  • Premier Client Care

    From start to finish, our aim is to provide excellent service to our clients. You are never just another case.

  • Free Consultations

    Whether in-person, over the phone, or virtual, your first initial consultation with us is 100% complimentary.

Your maintenance plan will include:

  • An annual review of fiduciary designations, beneficiaries, distribution provisions, tax planning, Medicaid planning, and disability planning
  • Any necessary revisions made to fiduciaries and beneficiary designations
  • Funding review (transfer of newly acquired assets based on the plan)
  • Access to your attorney for any questions you have throughout the year

We cannot control or predict the future, but we can take the steps today to adequately prepare. Get started on your estate plan by calling (301) 900-5940 or contacting us online today.

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  • Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2019
  • America's Most Honored Professionals 2019
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