Estate Planning & Probate Attorney in Annapolis

Ensuring that Your Wishes are Carried Out

Whether you are rich or not so rich, you should have a plan in place for what will happen to your assets, property, and possessions after you die. As an Anne Arundel estate planning and probate lawyer, Mr. Brennan can help you create a will, set up a trust, and implement a comprehensive estate plan. If you are the executor of an estate, we can also offer advice and guidance through the probate process.

Please contact the firm at (888) 633-5580, or visit our estate planning website at for all your estate planning and probate needs in Anne Arundel County and the surrounding areas.

Customized Estate Planning Services

Wills and trusts are important tools for estate planning. A will can be a simple one-page document or a lengthy and complex one, depending on the extent and nature of the wealth to be passed on and the objectives of the client. In addition to a standard will, a variety of different trusts can be used to serve specific needs. For example, you can create a living trust to hold your assets in trust during your lifetime and then pass them onto your designated beneficiaries after death. Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable.

A living trust allows you to:

  • Retain control over assets during your lifetime
  • Set up management of your assets in the event you are incapacitated
  • Avoid probate for all assets in the trust
  • Pass assets on to beneficiaries as you direct
  • Decide how and when assets will be distributed, including provisions that can protect from failed marriages, imprudent and immature beneficiaries, and improper and undue influence on a surviving spouse.
  • A living trust allows you to place your assets in the trust and name a trustee to manage the assets. In most cases, you are the trustee during your lifetime, and the document names a successor trustee. After your death, this trustee will manage the trust and ensure the assets are distributed to your intended beneficiaries. As an Annapolis estate planning lawyer, Mr. Brennan can help you create a will and set up any trusts that best serve your goals.

Benefits of Estate Planning

Having an estate plan in place can benefit you and your family in a number of ways, including:

  • Quickly Giving Your Family Control of Your Property after You Die
  • Taking Care of Your Children
  • Minimizing Taxes and After-death Expenses
  • Smoothing Retirement
  • Preparing for Medical Hardships
  • Avoiding Probate
  • Protecting Your Assets

In summary, proper estate planning will ensure you and your family have planned for the hardships of life that invariably arise, and leave as little to chance as possible.

The experienced Annapolis estate planning attorney at The Brennan Law Firm, LLC is here to assist you through the process. Call us today to discuss your options.

Guidance through the Probate Process

Probate is the procedure of settling an estate and bringing any existing will into effect. If there is a will, the named executor must gather and value all assets and property, pay any bills and taxes, and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

In the state of Maryland, if you die without a will your estate's assets and property will be distributed according to "intestate succession." This means that Maryland’s intestacy laws will determine who receives your assets, prioritizing your closest living relatives and spouse. Some examples of how Maryland divides up your assets according to your family include:

  • If you are married but have no living children or parents, your spouse receives everything you own. The same is true if your only living relatives are your children, parents, or siblings. They receive your entire estate.
  • If you have a living spouse and living children, then your spouse receives $40,000 of your estate plus half of whatever remains. Your children would then receive whatever remains of the estate. However, if your children are still minors, then your spouse receives half of the total estate, and your children receive the remaining half.
  • If your parents are alive, but you have been married to your spouse for less than 5 years, then your spouse receives $40,000 and half of the remaining estate, and your parents inherit the remaining half. However, if you have been married to your spouse for 5 years or more, then your spouse inherits everything in your estate.

Additionally, the executor, or administrator, will be appointed by the Register of Wills or the Orphans Court. This is one reason why it is important to draft your will and to review and update it regularly to ensure it reflects your wishes.

Have you been named as an executor and need help fulfilling your duties to the estate? Are you a beneficiary with questions about the probate process? Anne Arundel probate attorney Mr. Brennan can answer your questions and advise you from start to finish. He will always keep your best interests in mind along the way.

Avoiding Probate in Maryland

Probate can be a costly and difficult process in some cases, so many families want to know how they can avoid probate for their estates. Luckily, Maryland law offers several options for smaller estates and other types of assets that can bypass the probate process.

Examples of smaller estates and assets that are not subject to probate include:

  • Estates that fall below the threshold of $50,000
  • Assets owned by joint tenancy with right of survivorship or tenancy by the entireties
  • Payable or transfer on death accounts
  • Accounts, retirement assets, and life insurance policies with designated beneficiaries

At The Brennan Law Firm, LLC, Mr. Brennan can counsel you on your options for minimizing the impact of probate on your estate. For over 15 years, he has helped clients throughout Anne Arundel County secure their wishes for their estate and ensure the probate process is as smooth as possible. He can help bring you the peace of mind you need.

Contact us for more information about how the Firm can assist you in Estate Planning & Probate matters.