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Maryland Estate Planning

At Sellers Johnson Law, we offer a full range of estate planning services including Wills, Trusts, Financial Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directives, and HIPAA Authorizations. We guide clients through the development of planning solutions that build strong foundations for lifetime and post-death planning. These solutions help our clients plan for the distribution of their property and other assets while avoiding unnecessary state and federal taxes such as income, inheritance, estate, gift, and transfer taxes to which estates and trusts may be subject. These strategies also shield our clients’ assets from future claims by creditors.

During this introductory phase of estate planning, we assist clients in creating a Last Will and Testament with an optional Revocable Living Trust. We customize these documents to address clients’ anticipated needs as well as their personal estate planning goals. We also draft Financial Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directives (also known as Living Wills) and Health Care Powers of Attorney to protect our clients’ wishes at a time of disability or incapacity. In addition, we guide clients through the often difficult process of selecting appropriate financial and medical agents. We also counsel clients in the selection of beneficiaries for life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other assets as well as the most appropriate method of holding title to various assets.

Another often overlooked area of Estate Planning is Long Term Care Planning.  Most people do not realize that the cost of long term care may totally or significantly erode or even obliterate a person's estate, leaving a greatly reduced or no inheritance for loved ones.  Most people believe that Medicare and Medicaid will provide for them during illness at a certain point in there lives.  What they do not realize is that Medicare generally covers short-term illnesses and, while Medicaid provides for long term care, it only does so for persons whose assets are no more than around $2,500.  Most people are required to pay for their long term health care out of pocket by invading their estates and possibly selling off their assets to get down to that level.  Sadly, many people do not learn about these devastating situations until it is too late and they already are sick and need long term care.

We have strategies that we can implement to assist clients is preserving their estates.  One of the most important components of planning for Long Term Care is to obtain Long Term Care Insurance.  This insurance is becoming more difficult to obtain and is becoming more expensive.  An complimentary or alternative component of Long Term Planning is to set up a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust and/or a Veterans Asset Protection Trust.  These trusts, along with Financial and Health Care Powers of Attorney, need to be in place well before our clients become ill and require Long Term Care.