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Category Archives: Estate Planning

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Is “Early Inheritance” A Good Estate Planning Strategy?

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Estate planning lawyers and financial planners may have given you the counterintuitive advice of spending or giving away as much of your assets as you can while you are alive. Yes, you need to save enough to provide for your own needs in your old age, but what do you do if you could… Read More »

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How To Tank Your Estate Plan: Parent PLUS Loans

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Not all parents take the same approach to estate planning, but everyone who has children takes their children into account when developing an estate plan. Some live well below their means while dreaming of leaving a generous inheritance for their children and grandchildren. Others maximize their annual gift tax exclusion and set up revocable… Read More »

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The Inheritance Rights Of Former Spouses

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

With only one exception, you, as the testator of your will, have the final decision about how much, if anything, each of your relatives will inherit from your estate. Only your spouse has the right to claim an elective share of your estate, thus overriding the provisions of your will. If the decedent has… Read More »

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Are Your Estranged Relatives Filing Objections In Probate Just To Mess With You?

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Sometimes probate disputes are just a proxy for long-standing grudges between estranged family members. Genuine disagreements about the validity or intent of the deceased person’s will or other aspects of the deceased person’s estate plan can get mixed up with anger and grief over the decedent’s death and final illness. The law requires the… Read More »

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Be Careful How You Word Your Declaration of Trust

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Even if you are very early in the research and brainstorming phase of your estate planning process, you have probably given more than a passing thought to setting up a trust. Living trusts, which are set up during your lifetime, and testamentary trusts, the establishment of which is provided for in your will, make… Read More »

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What Happens If a Maryland Resident Dies Without a Will?

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

As another decade begins, your New Year’s resolutions become less and less like the ones you used to set in your youth. Remember your resolution in 1999, when you resolved to brush your teeth every day, or your 2005 resolution to always get up before noon? If you are old enough to read a… Read More »

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Vaguely Worded Wills and Vaguely Defined Relationships Make for a Bad Estate Planning Strategy

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

If you are back on the dating scene in your golden years, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that late-in-life romance is refreshingly free of much of the drama that plagues young couples’ relationships. If you and your new sweetie are both retired and have grandchildren, you are automatically immune to the disputes… Read More »

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The Castruccio Case: A Dispute Over a Codicil to a Will

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

As long as you are alive, the terms of your will are not set in stone. Revising one’s will at least once is the rule rather than the exception. For this reason, disputes sometimes arise when family members or other people listed as personal representatives bring differing versions of the will to court for… Read More »

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What the Coronavirus Economic Panic Means for Your Estate Plan

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

Even if you are an expert at avoiding media hype, you can’t avoid noticing that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has almost everyone worried, even though only a few cases have been reported in the United States. In crowded places like malls and Metro stations, you probably see more people wearing surgical masks than you… Read More »

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When Your Children Don’t Want to Inherit Your Personal Items: An Estate Planning Guide to Decluttering

By Tobin O’Connor & Ewing |

In the field of estate planning law, there is much talk of reducing the value of your probate assets, and therefore reducing the estate taxes, by giving your heirs part of their inheritance while you are alive. Ways to do this include transferring assets to a trust, transferring the title of a house to… Read More »

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