It’s common to hear attorneys and others refer to trusts, but you may not know exactly what they are or why they are needed. A trust is similar to an entity, such as a corporation or an LLC, in that a trust has a separate identity from either the person that formed it or the people it is intended to benefit. The trust may own property in its own name and may even have a separate tax ID for its dealings with the IRS.
Continue reading “What is a Trust? The Basics of Forming a Maryland Trust”
Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s financial affairs are concluded and their assets are transferred to their legatees (if through a will) or heirs (if without a will). Because many people pass away with minimal probate assets, the State of Maryland provides a less burdensome process by which assets can be transferred for such estates.
When the value of a decedent’s property subject to Maryland probate is less than $50,000 (or less than $100,000 when a surviving spouse will be the sole legatee or heir), the estate under is allowed to be considered a “small estate” and use a simplified set of probate rules.
Continue reading “Probate in Maryland – Small Estates Versus Regular Estates”
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, or ILIT, should be of interest to any person buying life insurance. The ILIT is not just for people with estate tax issues. The ILIT can allow you to control how and when insurance proceeds are distributed to beneficiaries. Rather than going straight to the beneficiary, the insurance company pays the proceeds into a trust that then pays the amounts to the beneficiary as quickly or as slowly as you decide. Such a trust can be particularly beneficial when the potential beneficiary is younger, may have potential marital issues, or has difficultly managing money. Continue reading “Forming An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)”
Many wonder what happens if you die without a Will. Each state, including Maryland, has its own laws that determine what happens to the person’s estate. The differences between each state’s laws do cause confusion, and your assumptions about Maryland’s laws may be incorrect and can cause incredibly negative problems.
When someone dies without a Will, the rules governing the estate are called “intestate laws”. When intestate laws apply, the deceased person may be referred to as having “died intestate” and having left an “intestate estate”. Your state’s intestate laws serve essentially as your Will if your family cannot provide an actual Will. Maryland’s intestate laws are often not what most people expect. Continue reading “Not Having a Will in Maryland”
Small businesses comprise a significant portion of our economy. Unfortunately, most small businesses do not survive into the next generation of owners. The hard work and legacy of the current and prior generations can be wasted without proper planning.
Small business owners often feel they have sufficient time to begin making the transition and will delay the necessary steps until some fateful event forces them into acting. This leaves little or no time to prepare the business and the family for the burdens, both financial and managerial, that can be caused by a sudden and unplanned transfer. Continue reading “Family Business Succession Planning”
Persons holding equity interests in a business can use a buy-sell agreement to ensure the continuity of the business and to solidify their expectations regarding the taxes, rights, and obligations of each party. The buy-sell agreement can dictate the method by which a person’s equity interest will be purchased. Buy-sell agreements can be used by nearly any type of entity, regardless of whether the entity is a corporation, LLC, or partnership.
Continue reading “Buy-Sell Agreements”
Many people desire to give gifts and bequests to friends or relatives with special needs. But to accomplish this wish the person must consider whether the gift or bequest will cause the beneficiary to lose their government benefits. Ensuring the beneficiary will continue to receive their government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may require that the person give the gift or bequest through a special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust.
Obviously, when providing such a gift or bequest your intention is to improve the comfort of the person with special needs, not relieve the government of its burden. However, certain government benefit programs require Continue reading “Maryland Special Needs Trusts”
Choosing an entity for your business can be a difficult decision. There are many types of entities available, and you are not limited to forming an entity in your state. Further, the entity you choose does not necessarily determine how the entity will be taxed. For instance, you may choose to form a Maryland LLC but also choose to have it taxed as an s-corporation. The decision depends upon many factors including: the business purpose, the property to be owned, expectations to terminate or sell the business, the owner’s estate planning concerns, and, of course, taxes. There is no universal “best entity”, and choosing the proper entity requires every business to be individually analyzed.
Most states, including Maryland, provide you with the following popular state entity choices: the sole proprietorship, the general partnership, the limited liability company, and the corporation. Other entities for more specialized purposes also exist, such as the limited partnership and the professional association (a P.A. or P.C.).
Continue reading “The Best Entity for Your Maryland Business: LLC or Corporation?”
Please see my new page, Maryland Estate Planning. The page is a summary for those seeking basic advice regarding Maryland estate planning. This summary covers the most frequently asked questions and stresses my belief that most, if not all, people should consider some estate planning. I welcome any suggestions for additional content.
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