Frequently Asked Questions
Our job is helping our clients with legal issues that they may be faced with. We pride ourselves in finding practical, efficient long-term solutions.
Asset protection planning is for everyone. If you engage in any activity that could give rise to a lawsuit (drive a car, employ another person, allow people into your home, etc.), you are vulnerable to a lawsuit that could take everything you have.
Asset protection planning is NOT about hiding assets, keeping secrets, or defrauding anyone. Asset protection planning is about positioning your assets in a way that discourages lawsuits or prompts a mutually beneficial settlement.
We get it; most people work during the day, that shouldn’t preclude you from access to quality legal representation. As such, we serve the community Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and Saturday by appointment. Digitally we are always around, emails and phone and text messages are usually responded to within the next business day.
While you do have some legal services at your disposal because of your military service, often the essential estate planning offered by your JAG office is not complete enough to carry out your specific wishes and truly protect your family. By working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your situation is evaluated and a custom plan is crafted and implemented to meet your needs. We offer a 10% discount to all active duty service members and veterans.
False. Estate planning is not a one and done task. Depending upon how long it has been since you had the documents prepared, it is always a good idea to have them reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that your wishes are adequately contained in the old documents. Life is full of changes, and it is crucial that your estate planning documents reflect your life and needs as they are right now.
“The only constant in life is change.” –Heraclitus
Regardless of your financial status, estate planning is essential for everyone. It not only covers what to do with your assets when you have passed away, but it also includes documents such as financial and medical powers of attorney that will authorize individuals to act on your behalf if you are not able to due to incapacity or being out of the country.
There is not just one attorney here at the firm. Well, physically there is only one, but as noted on his bio page, Mr. Brown is a member of a consortium of hundreds of estate planning attorneys. (Learn more about the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys). In addition, Mr. Brown is backed by a professional accounting firm and practice management system. Together, Mr. Brown has placed together a series of technical solutions that allow him to profoundly amplify his ability to meet the needs and circumstances of his clients.
There is a free public website maintained by the Maryland Sate Law Library, and supported by the Maryland Judiciary and Maryland’s non-profit legal services providers. They team there can help you find:
- legal help
- legal information
- legal terms
- law libraries
- court records
- official court forms
- and so much more
Yes. While some people are hesitant to count their chickens before they hatch, looping your estate planner into your full financial picture is the best way to prepare for whatever the future may hold. By planning, you can help ensure that whatever is left to you will be protected and able to be enjoyed for years to come. With all of the emotions that surround the passing of a loved one, you’ll be able to focus on grieving and the administration process, without having the additional worries of how you will handle your finances.
If you expected to a receive an inheritance and ultimately do not, your financial and estate plans can be revised to take the change into account. We like to think of estate planning as a process rather than a one-time event. Your plan must evolve to ensure continued management of the assets you have, not just the ones you had when the plan was originally prepared.
Money can be a taboo subject in some families. Broaching this subject with your family may be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Start the conversation during a relatively stress-free time rather than springing it on a family member during the chaotic holiday season or before a big family celebration. Instead of focusing solely on what you are to receive as your inheritance, you can discuss it as part of a larger conversation regarding your loved ones’ plans for their health and overall well-being. You can begin by inquiring as to what type of planning they have already done. Have they designated agents under Financial or Medical Powers of Attorney to act on their behalf should they become incapacitated? Do they have a living will in place to assist with end-of-life decisions? While planning for an inheritance may be your main focus, this conversation can help ensure that your loved one is protected as well.
Yes, although it is always better to seek the help of an estate planning attorney, there are some basic strategies you can use to do asset protection planning on your own. First, always make sure that you have proper insurance. Make sure that your homeowner’s insurance is up to date and accurately reflects the current value of your home. If you own a business, make sure you have business insurance to cover any liability or losses that might arise so that your assets are not at risk.
Second, if you are married (and your state law allows for it), you and your spouse should own your home as tenants by the entirety. This type of ownership means that the creditor of one spouse cannot take your home. Depending on your state law, you may be able to co-own other property the same way with your spouse.
Lastly, make the maximum contribution to your 401(k) or IRA accounts. These accounts are protected from bankruptcy proceedings for you and your spouse (with certain limitations). This same protection, however, does not extend to an inherited IRA.
No, asset protection planning can only be done before a lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit is known. Asset protection planning is about planning, not transferring assets only when you are at risk.