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Tag Archives: estate planning

5 common estate plan mistakes to avoid

5 Costly Estate Plan Mistakes to Avoid

By Andre O. McDonald |

You spend the first half of your adult life trying to achieve financial security and the second half of your life trying to maintain it. This adage is why many people spend substantial time and effort maximizing their legacy goals in their estate plan, ensuring their wishes come to pass. Your life’s work and… Read More »

The importance of understanding the connection between life insurance and estate planning

Understanding the Connection Between Life Insurance and Estate Planning

By Andre O. McDonald |

A common misconception people have about life insurance and estate planning is that they only need to designate their spouse, child, or loved one as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy to ensure that the benefits will be available to the beneficiary when they die. Life insurance is an important financial and estate… Read More »

What is HEMS in estate planning, and why is it used so often in trusts?

What Is HEMS and Why Is It Included in So Many Trusts?

By Andre O. McDonald |

In the world of estate planning, you may come across the acronym HEMS from time to time. HEMS stands for “health, education, maintenance, or support” and is frequently included in trust agreements to guide a trustee on the types of distributions they may make to a trust beneficiary. When a trustee is limited to… Read More »

The Impact of Mental Illness on Estate Planning

Mental Health Considerations in Estate Planning

By Andre O. McDonald |

It is okay to not be okay. Removing the stigma of mental health starts with realizing that many people—about one in five of all US adults–are affected by mental illness. Understanding this fact can lead to more people getting the help they require, not only by seeking guidance from a mental health expert, but… Read More »

Why do I need an estate plan?

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

By Andre O. McDonald |

In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2021 survey conducted by Caring.com, only 33 percent of adults in the United States… Read More »

Understanding how the Court handles estate administration

How Does the Court Handle Estate Administration?

By Andre O. McDonald |

Probate is the method by which judicial officials, including probate judges, process a decedent’s will. While state probate laws may vary, the general process of estate administration is quite similar across the country. Probate is the process of proving wills for decedents. A probate judge will also oversee cases where the deceased person did… Read More »

Separate vs. Community Property: Why it Matters

Is Our Home Community Property or Separate Property, and Why Does It Matter?

By Andre O. McDonald |

When two people get married, the property they obtain during their marriage is called marital property. This includes anything from real property like homes and rental properties, to stock options, investment accounts, heirlooms, and employment income. A common assumption is that spouses want to share their property with each other. This assumption is not… Read More »

Why you need to factor your vacation home into your estate plan

Estate Planning Considerations for the Family Vacation Home

By Andre O. McDonald |

Many families enjoy spending time in their family vacation home. Sharing time and creating memories is the hallmark of such properties, and often there is a desire to preserve the home’s ownership within the family system for generations to come. Yet, even seemingly harmonious families can experience discord and exasperation when parents are no… Read More »

Revocable living trust: is joint or separate right for you and your spouse?

What Is a Separate Revocable Living Trust?

By Andre O. McDonald |

When a couple engages in foundational estate planning, one of the first questions addressed by estate planning attorneys is whether it makes sense for the couple to use a revocable living trust (RLT) as a part of their plan. If using an RLT makes sense, an important follow-up question to married couples should be… Read More »

Understanding the different types of trusts

Understanding the Different Types of Trusts: Living, Testamentary, and Constructive

By Andre O. McDonald |

In the world of estate planning, terms that refer to legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives can be confusing and even overwhelming at times. What is a will, and how does it differ from a trust? What distinguishes a springing power of attorney from an immediate power of… Read More »

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For help with estate planning, special needs planning, elder law or Veteran's Pension Planning needs throughout Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore County; and Baltimore City, contact McDonald Law Firm, LLC.

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McDonald Law Firm, LLC

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10500 Little Patuxent Pkwy, #420
Columbia, MD 21044-3563

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7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 800 West
Bethesda, MD 20814

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Washington, DC 20037

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