Towson Trust & Estates Attorney

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It is never too early to make plans about what happens to your estate and your assets when you pass.  Complex rules often make it harder for people to draw up wills that distribute their assets as they want.  Poorly written wills can also leave heirs with debates and questions about who gets what, often leading to legal challenges.

Our attorneys can help you write your will, set up trusts to provide support for your loved ones, and advise you on how your estate will be taxed when it passes to your heirs.  We can also help with will disputes and fight to get our clients the inheritance they deserve under the law and under the instruments in place.

For a free case review, call our Towson trust and estates attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Services Our Towson Trusts and Estates Attorneys Provide

Estates and trust law focuses heavily on helping clients with estate planning and all of the legal issues that surround that.  Our trusts and estate attorneys can help with all of the following legal issues and more:

Will Drafting

One of the first steps toward having your estate distributed the way you want is to sit down with a lawyer and go over your assets and your wishes.  While there is a lot more to plan for, drafting a will will be one important part of your estate planning journey.

Without a will, your money, home, and other assets all pass according to the law of “intestate succession.”  If you die intestate (without a will), your assets should still be distributed to your spouse and your children, so a will is not always necessary for everyone.  However, if you want to make special bequests, there are certain people you do not want inheriting from you, or you want to set up a trust for ongoing income to your spouse and children, you will certainly need a will to dictate those terms.

Making sure that your will is strong and legally valid is vital.  It is also important to make sure that it is your only will so that previous versions or drafts cannot lead to disputes about which will governs.

Estate Planning

More generally, estate planning deals with more than just wills.  Your will generally dictates what happens with property, but only certain property is governed by the will.  Other parts of your estate – such as a house you own with your spouse or a joint bank account – will pass to other parties without needing to go through a will or through the legal process of “probate.”

In many cases, setting up these “non-probate” assets can help streamline the process of passing your estate to your heirs.  For example, ensuring that your spouse has joint ownership over your home or your accounts can ensure that they have access to the money and property immediately after your death rather than needing to wait for things to pass through probate before they have access to the funds needed for daily expenses or bills.

Much of the estate planning process also deals with planning for custody of your children, end-of-life care needs, “living will” instructions, advance health care directives, and powers of attorney should you fall ill or become unable to manage your own assets.


A trust works to separate out ownership and administration of property.  This works by a grantor (the original owner) putting their assets in a trust to be managed by a trustee to pay money or property to a beneficiary.

Often, setting up your money and assets in a trust can be a helpful way to organize your assets, allowing you to draw an income from the trust.  It can also be a helpful way to ensure income for your spouse, children, or family members with special healthcare needs or disabilities after you are gone.  It is also a common way to set up an endowment or charitable donation to continue after you pass.  Trusts are also non-probate assets, meaning that they continue to function without having to follow the instructions of your will or pass through the courts before going to your loved ones.

Our attorneys can advise you on when setting up a trust is a good idea.  We can also administer trusts and tie them into other estate planning tools, such as your will or your life insurance policy.

Will Contests

When a family member dies, their will can sometimes be called into question.  Many family members who would stand to get a bigger inheritance through the intestacy statute might try to get a will thrown out entirely.  The opposite could also be true, and you might seek to have a will enforced when the will benefits you.  Other times, there are simply multiple wills that could divide assets differently, and it can be difficult to tell which one is legally binding.

First, to be able to bring a will contest or have a claim under this type of proceeding, you need to be an “interested party.”  That typically means that you are either named in the will itself as a beneficiary, or you would have received a share under the intestacy rule.

Second, we will have to look at the legitimacy of the will or various purported wills.  For a will to be valid, it has to be in writing, the testator has to have signed it, and it must be signed by two witnesses who watched them sign it.  Questions about a will’s validity often arise when a later will is brought forward or the testator signed a new will or a hand-written (so-called “holographic”) will near the end of their life.  It is also possible that a will might have been copied and altered, and questions arise about which copy is the legitimate will.

Our attorneys can help you parse through the legal issues and determine which will – if any – is binding.  It is vital to turn to a lawyer when your share of an inheritance is challenged or if you need to bring a challenge to get your fair inheritance.

Call Our Trust and Estate Lawyers in Towson, MD Today

For a free review of your potential case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ trust and estate lawyers (410) 694-7291.