Law Offices of
Michael Demyan
7425 Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard
Suite 104
Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061

Telephone (410) 787-8700
Fax (410) 760-4110

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Legal Services

Wills     (From $95.00) Living Wills     (From $35.00)
Estate Planning     Power of Attorney     (From $50.00)
Advanced Directives     (From $50.00)

WILLS - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WILLS

A Will is a document used to probate your estate and direct the distribution of any assets which you held in your name alone at the time of your death. A Will only directs assets titled in your name alone and will not have any effect on joint assets or on assets that have beneficiary designations (Retirement Accounts, 401(K) Accounts, Life Insurance policies) unless your estate is the beneficiary.

Generally your Will allows you to select who the beneficiaries are that will receive any assets which you owned in your name at the time of your death. Also a Will is used to nominate guardians to care for family members if you have minor or incompetent children or dependents. The Will also allows you to select one or more Personal Representatives (formerly known in Maryland as Executors) who will be the person responsible for handling your estate.

If property is owned by you jointly with another and there is a right of survivorship, your Will does not effectively direct the disposition of that property. For jointly owned property in which there is a right of survivorship (such as joint bank accounts) the asset will pass automatically to the joint owner regardless of what your will indicates. In addition to jointly owned property, certain assets which have beneficiary designations are not disposed of by a Will. For example, life insurance benefits, retirement benefits, 401K plans, IRA plans, annuities or any assets titled into a trust prior to your death all will be disposed of without regard to what your will directs unless they are made payable to your estate. Therefore if your wishes are to have property go somewhere other than to the joint owner your wishes could be frustrated and defeated if assets are not properly titled (which means no matter what your Will may provide, jointly owned property and property with a designated beneficiary will pass to the surviving joint owner or designated beneficiary.) As a result it is extremely important that in addition to the documents prepared for your estate plan that your assets are reviewed and titled properly so that your estate plan works as you desire it to function.

You should review your Will every few years to make sure that it functions as you want. Often times circumstances may dictate that you change whom you want to act as the executor, whom you want to appoint as guardian or even where you want your property to go. Also you should review your Will, or discuss with your attorney any major changes in your life. These would include things such as purchasing a house, receiving money or inheritances, having children, etc. Discussing these events with your estate planning attorney will ensure that your Will matches your needs.

In addition to a Will there are several documents which are also very important to the estate planning process. A Will is only one of the estate planning documents that you need and is not sufficient to replace a Power of Attorney for finances and Advance Directives (Health Power of Attorney and Living Will) which are effective during your lifetime. In addition, if one of your estate planning purposes is to avoid the probate process a Will, although important as a back up document, is not likely to be the only document which you will need.

ESTATE ADMINISTRATION - CARRYING OUT THE TERMS OF THE WILL

Generally, estate administration involves the handling of assets, debts, expenses and taxes after death. Effective estate planning followed by proper administration allows clients and their families to reap the benefits that competent legal guidance provides.

Estate administration is much more than just completing forms provided by the Register of Wills. I provide a complete range of estate administration services covering all aspects of administering estates and trusts. I assist personal representatives and trustees in carrying out their administrative duties. I provide legal advice regarding the sale and disposition of assets and real property. I draft and prepare necessary court documents. I assist clients in re-titling property as well as overseeing the administration of guardianships and trusts after the estate administration is concluded. I see to it that all required tax filings, including state and federal estate taxes, gift taxes, generation skipping taxes, inheritance taxes as well as fiduciary income taxes for trusts and estates and personal income taxes. My fee for services rendered is paid from the Estate funds and the Personal Representative is not personally required to pay my fee. All attorney's fees are approved by the Orphans' Court before being paid or made by agreement of the interested parties subject to limits imposed by law

On occasion, conflicts occur during the administration of estate. If a conflict arises over estate matters, I represent clients in dispute resolution and litigation. Examples of some of those areas requiring legal assistance include the following:

• Contested property sales
• Identification of missing property and assets
• Will Contests
• Trust Disputes
• Conflicts over ownership of assets
• Contested guardianships
• Estate tax disputes
• Conflicts between beneficiaries
• Lawsuits
• Justified removal of a Personal Representative

In addition, I have been a licensed real estate Broker in Maryland for more than 20 years. My knowledge and expertise in estate administration coupled with my 20+ years as a real estate Broker gives me a unique perspective on the prompt and cost efficient administration of estates.

POWER OF ATTORNEY - THE NEED FOR A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY

A Power of Attorney is the appointment by a competent individual, also known as the principal, of another competent individual, considered the agent, to act on the principal's behalf during certain duties related to the principal's financial affairs or to make health care decisions for the principal. A Power of Attorney is only valid while the principal is competent and continues to direct the agent to act on their behalf. On the other hand, the principal may indicate in the Power of Attorney that they intend for the powers granted to the agent to remain in effect even if the principal becomes incompetent. This is known as a Durable Power of Attorney. If a person has not executed a Durable Power of Attorney and becomes disabled, the only option available is to petition the Circuit Court to appoint a Guardian, which ordinarily costs at least $2,500.00, and that is assuming the appointment of the Guardian is uncontested. If contested, there can be no particular cost limit. On the other hand, in the event a Guardian must be appointed, the Powers of Attorney I prepare include an appointment of a Guardian so that you can decide who would act for you instead of a Judge deciding.

LIVING WILL - A GOOD IDEA

As long as you are competent, you are in control of your medical care, including life-sustaining procedures (e.g. assisted breathing, feeding tubes, etc.) However, if you are incompetent, doctors (with a varying degree of input by different family members) are generally left to determine what, if any, life-sustaining procedures will be employed on your behalf. If you wish to control the degree of life-sustaining procedures that your doctor will employ on your behalf, you should execute a Living Will. Specifically, a Living Will is a document that states if at any time you should have an incurable disease, injury or illness certified to be a terminal condition by two physicians who have personally examined you, one of which shall be your attending physician, and the physicians have determined that your death is imminent and will occur whether or not life-sustaining procedures are utilized and where the application of such procedures would serve only to artificially prolong the dying process, you direct that such procedures be withheld or withdrawn and that you be permitted to die naturally with only the administration of medication, the administration of food and water, and the performance of any medical procedure that is necessary to provide comfort, care and alleviate pain. Once you execute a Living Will, you should give a copy to your health care agent, your primary care doctor, and any other medical specialists should you suffer from a serious or life threatening disease or illness. A Living Will is a good idea in light of our current state of medical science that can allow people to live extended periods by artificial means resulting in the needless prolonging of the dying process certain to adversely effect loved ones as well as creating extraordinary sums of medical expenses that can wipe out a life's savings.

ADVANCED MEDICAL DIRECTIVES - CAUTION!

In addition to a Power of Attorney where you appoint someone to make medical decisions for you, you can also execute an Advanced Medical Directive. The Advanced Medical Directive allows you to make your medical decision now should you be in a certain medical condition in the future. On its face, the idea of relieving your loved ones from making difficult medical decisions on your behalf in the future sounds like a good one. However, I suggest caution before executing an Advanced Medical Directive because what may seem like a good decision now may not be a good decision later as it is impossible to cover every medical condition in an Advanced Medical Directive. Moreover, if you execute a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, your agent will have all the powers necessary to make your medical decisions and will be afforded the real time knowledge of your diagnosis, your prognosis, and the all important advice of your treating physicians. With medical science constantly changing, it is my opinion that most Advanced Directives limit your health care agent from keeping all options open.

PERSONAL INJURY

If you are injured at work or in an accident, it is important that you consult an attorney. Maryland law imposes different time limits on different personal injury claims. If you do not file your claim within the time allowed, your claim, no matter how "clear-cut" in your mind it may be, will be lost. In addition, speaking with the claim representative, by giving either a recorded statement or what you may believe are innocent discussions, will never help your case. The claim representative is asking you probing questions for the sole purpose of eliminating or reducing your claim(s) for compensation. Claim representatives always discourage the need for an attorney because they know that the experience and advice of an attorney will result in a larger verdict or settlement. At the Law Offices of Michael Demyan, we handle all worker's compensation, auto accident and other injury claims on a contingent fee basis, meaning there will be no legal fee or reimbursement for expenses unless a recovery is made. Be smart. Be Safe. Call our office if you have been injured at work or in an accident.

GENERAL LAW PRACTICE

In addition to the legal services listed on our Home page, our office provides many other legal services including the preparation of Deeds, Separation Agreements, Uncontested Divorces, Prenuptial Agreements and filing of Guardianships, to name just a few. Deeds are often used as part of a comprehensive estate plan to eliminate the need for probate. A Prenuptial Agreement is also an important estate planning tool and is not just for the wealthy. Many people do not realize that when they get married, their new spouse is entitled to a minimum statutory share of their estate. This can cause great angst when one or both parties have children from a prior relationship as the childrens' share will be reduced. Moreover, as part of the minimum statutory share, the surviving spouse can make a claim against non-probate assets like joint or payable on death bank and stock accounts, regardless of when the joint or payable on death accounts were created (even those established and funded prior to the later marriage.) A Prenuptial Agreement can solve this problem by specifying the share of the new spouse to avoid expensive legal actions after one's death. Most of the time, the cost for the preparation of Deeds, Separation Agreements, Prenuptial Agreements and Uncontested Divorces are done by flat-fee that the Client approves before incurring any expense.



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To learn more about our services please contact us by telephone Monday through Friday during business hours at (410) 787-8700. After hours you can leave a voice mail or contact us by e-mail through our Online Contact Form.
 
 

You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement. Copyright © 2009 by Law Offices of Michael Demyan. All rights reserved.