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Tag Archives: estate planning

What is a pour-over will (and do I need one?)

Pour-Over Will: Not Your Average Will

By Andre O. McDonald |

Wills and trusts are the two basic legal instruments that people use to pass accounts and property on to their loved ones at death. Although a revocable living trust is often used in place of a will, the two are not mutually exclusive. You can have both a will and a trust, and in… Read More »

Build Back Better Act: Implications for Estate Planning

Build Back Better Act and Estate Planning Changes

By Andre O. McDonald |

Build Back Better Act and Estate Planning Changes President Biden’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA) has made a significant first step towards passage as the House Ways and Means Committee approves the bill’s tax provisions. As the draft now stands, the legislative proposal may restrict the ability of higher net worth individuals to shelter… Read More »

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 »

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For help with estate planning, special needs planning or elder law 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

Columbia Office

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

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(By Appointment Only)

7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 800 West
Bethesda, MD 20814

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Washington, DC 20037

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