Keeping Wealth in the Family

Estate and Trust Planning, Controversy and Administration

At Frankel Sims Law, our estate planning lawyers advise individuals and families on transferring wealth by will, trust or gift, administering estates, and pursuing or defending trust and estate litigation. The firm develops estate plans that help clients in all family situations provide for beneficiaries, minimize gift and estate taxes, preserve and protect assets, designate guardians of minor children, and benefit charitable organizations. Frankel Sims Law provides guidance on complex trust and estate legal issues with common sense, clarity and human understanding. Our goal is to help you keep your property in the family so that it is preserved for future generations.

Knowledgeable Guidance in Estate and Estate Tax Planning

Many of the services that we provide for clients involve complex intergenerational estate planning. Some of these matters are resolved on a flat-fee basis. We can assist our clients with transferring property to family and friends with minimal estate tax. When property is transferred, both state and federal estate tax are often imposed. With proper estate planning, clients can maximize their estate tax exemptions and minimize estate tax due upon death. Strategies that may be used to minimize estate tax when transferring assets to the next generation include placing assets in a trust, limited partnership or LLC and gifting or selling assets at a discounted value.

Legal Representation for the Administration of Estates

Our estate planning attorneys assist clients who have lost loved ones with the administration of estates. In Maryland, estates may be probated as small, regular or modified. A small estate consists of assets subject to probate that are valued at $50,000 or less, unless the spouse is the sole heir or legatee of the estate, in which case the limit for a small estate is $100,000. A regular estate is required if the decedent's property has a value in excess of these amounts. The value of the assets is determined by the property's fair market value at the date of death minus any debts secured by the property at such time.

We often recommend the streamlined modified estate administration process that does not necessitate accounting for all income of the estate after the date of death. Modified administration is available when all heirs or legatees are limited to spouse, descendants or trusts for such persons.

In many cases, the creation of a trust is a useful way to avoid the probate process, the court supervised system whereby assets are transferred from the name of a decedent to the names of beneficiaries. Assets placed in a trust prior to death can avoid probate. Trust documents must name a trustee, a person or entity that acts in a fiduciary capacity for the best interests of specified beneficiaries. A trustee is required to prudently invest assets, prepare tax returns, communicate with beneficiaries, and make distributions of trust property.

Vigorous Advocacy in Litigation

Through our strategic relationship with Silverman Thompson Slutkin White, LLC, we provide our clients with access to a deep bench of estate and trust litigators to handle even the most complex estate and trust litigation matters. Estate litigation includes will contests or caveat proceedings and fiduciary malfeasance claims.

Consult an Estates and Trusts Lawyer

If you want to dispose of your property in a way that preserves it for your loved ones, it is crucial to consult an estates and trusts attorney. Serving Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona, the estate planning lawyers at Frankel Sims Law are ready to assist you with dedication and compassion.

Jane Frankel Sims Jane
Frankel
Sims
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David R. Forrer David R.
Forrer
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John C. Robinson John C.
Robinson
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Cristina Lujan Cristina
Lujan
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