It is never too late or too early to start estate planning in Maryland or Washington, DC. The estate law experts at JDKatz can handle all of your estate planning and Washington, DC elder law cases. Your future personal and financial security will depend on the decisions that you make today. Thorough planning goes a long way in protecting your assets and family. Our trust and estate attorneys will help you make the right choices for your future.

Whether you are considering estate planning in Washington, DC for the first time or have recently experienced a life changing event such as childbirth, marriage, illness, or a move across state lines, JDKatz can help. Estate planning is the smartest move for your future. We encourage you to contact our estate law attorneys to discuss your options.

A Team Approach to Estate Planning, Probate and Elder Law

Our experienced estate planning attorneys, CPAs, and other professionals work as a team to meet each of our clients’ individual needs. We assist clients with all aspects of estate and elder law in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Our comprehensive and personable estate law services include, but are not limited to, the following:

Why engage JDKatz for your estate planning?

We believe that great plans start with great people. Our lawyers speak in “plain English” and try to avoid legalese when explaining your options to you. We also put you in the driver’s seat on your estate planning endeavors.

That’s why our Bethesda based estate planning attorneys get to know you and your family. We truly believe that we can’t do great planning without first really understanding your needs and goals. Our estate planning attorneys will take the time to sit down with you personally and get to understand your desires and needs for your future, and for how you want your estate to be distributed after you are gone. We believe that when we establish the right combination of estate planning documents, including, wills, trusts, and advance directives, we can craft a comprehensive estate plan that meets your current and future needs. Our main motivation is to help you secure a legacy for future generations.

Why Do Our Bethesda Estate Planning Attorneys Draft Wills and Trusts?

We believe that everyone needs an estate plan to resolve their estate in order to ensure the best outcome for their loved ones. We also believe that a good estate plan should fully transfer your assets at the time of your death, in a manner that is time and cost efficient in order to avoid unnecessary taxes, and discourages fighting amongst the beneficiaries. For most people, this means they need to have a will at the foundation. Through a well-drafted will, we help you name your executor (also referred to as a Personal Representative) and appoint guardians for any minor children (those under 18) you may have. Our will and estate efforts also may make specific gifts of your personal property to family members, friends, and charities. However, since all wills must go through probate, we also need to identify which property will pass through the will and which property passes outside of probate (and not under the will).

Better estate plans also avoid probate by transferring the property outside of the will. Where your plan is designed to avoid probate by transferring most of the property through a revocable living trust, we make sure and include a “pour-over” provision in your will so that any property which may have been overlooked or acquired later will be transferred to the appropriate trust and delivered to your intended beneficiaries. Most importantly, we work with your and your financial planners, brokers, and insurance representatives to ensure that the plan is funded. We’ve reviewed hundreds of plans drafted by other lawyers and all too often find that they’ve not been completed by transferring the assets or retitling beneficiary designations so that the will and probate plan works as described.

Why Do Our Attorneys Believe in Establishing Revocable Living Trusts?

We believe and recognize that trusts are popular vehicles for transferring property outside of probate. When properly drafted, executed, and funded, your assets are transferred to your beneficiaries faster and with less expense than the traditional process of estate administration. We also believe that another advantage of a properly executed and implemented trust is that it is a private document.

Why Do We Believe That Clients Want to Avoid Probate?

We believe that our clients value their privacy while they are alive and want to maintain that same privacy at the time of their death. We’ve experienced clients having had the contents of their estate made public, and seen how unhappy beneficiaries and creditors can challenge the distribution and file claims against the estate. We’ve also found that it’s more difficult for creditors and beneficiaries to challenge or contest trusts than wills, as well. When we help you establish and fund your revocable living trust and estates, as well as other types of trusts to address special needs of minor or adult children, we may save time and money in the administration of the estate and can often realize better tax savings for you, your heirs, and beneficiaries. Be sure to speak with one of our experienced tax attorneys for more information.

What is our Experience in Estate Planning?

Our Bethesda-based estate planning attorneys hold advanced degrees in taxation, and are recognized as thought leaders in estate planning. We present Continuing Legal Education experience to other attorneys, CPA’s, and financial planners on a national level. Our estate law attorneys are sought after experts and frequently travel throughout the United States to present CLE programs on these topics. We have prepared more than 2,000 individual estate plans and our combined experience exceeds 100 years. We believe that when we take a comprehensive approach to your estate planning, which includes more than just determining how to handle your assets after you have gone, we can better achieve your goals and objectives.

We also believe that estate planning provides an opportunity to address with you how you would want your healthcare and financial and legal affairs managed in the event you become physically or mentally incapacitated and cannot make or communicate these decisions on your own. We believe that we can help you choose the right combination of powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, and living wills to make sure that YOUR decisions are made by people you trust in accordance with your wishes.

What other related services do you provide? (Guardianships & Probate)

While we believe that pre-planning is the best option, we often find our clients in crisis mode. As such, our Bethesda-based estate planning attorneys are often called upon to help in related areas, including guardianships for minors who have lost their parents, for disabled individuals by virtue of alcoholism or drug use, or for otherwise mentally incapacitated adults who are unable to manage their healthcare or financial affairs without assistance.

Because of the depth and breadth of our practice, we believe that our experience is far greater and deeper than most other attorneys when it comes to the administration of trusts and estates, including management of complex trust assets. We handle Maryland, DC, and Virginia will and probate matters and guide our clients throughout all aspects of trust administration and estate administration, helping estate executors and administrators as well as heirs and beneficiaries through the myriad of legal issues which must be faced when winding up an estate plan.

How do I start my planning process to Draft or Revise my current Estate Plan?

Whether you’ve already begun this process, or are just getting started, there is no time like the present to review your estate plan. We often find that plans become outdated by operation of time, money, or circumstances. We believe that documents should be reviewed every three to five years to determine whether changes in the family dynamic (adoptions, births, deaths, marriages, or divorces), any changes in finances and relationships of named beneficiaries, executors or Trustees may affect the administration of the estate. Contact us today to get started on the planning process. In Bethesda, call JDKatz, P.C. at 301-913-2948 for assistance.

To learn more about probate and estate administration in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, consult the following resources:

When Someone Dies – A Non-Lawyer’s Guide to Probate in Washington, D.C.