State Rules

These sections cover specific rules and laws in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the author’s states of licensure.

Who Will Choose Your Kids’ Guardian and Custodian?


All parents of minor children should have at least a will.  Let me repeat.  All parents of minor children should have at least a will.  If you are a parent with minor children and you don’t have a will, you must get it done. Why?  The following are the major consequences if you do not:…

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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Differences: You Can Go Home Again


I am pleased to announce that I have renewed active status as a Pennsylvania attorney.  While I have done so mainly due to a familial circumstance, I spent most of my first 21 years there, and also worked there as an attorney for an additional 5 years.  It is still home to me in many…

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Estate Planning Fundamentals


So far, we have discussed many different aspects of estate planning in this blog.  However, if this site is supposed to convince you that estate planning is something that you should really get a handle on, then we should probably discuss some basics.  We’ll do so in a Question and Answer format:  Read more...

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The System Works – Maryland’s New Power of Attorney Law


Gideon’s Trumpet We all love David vs. Goliath stories.  These are especially satisfying when they involve the legal process.  One of the most celebrated cases involving a huge underdog was Gideon v. Wainwright.  In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was found guilty of a crime in a Florida court after having to defend himself since he…

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The Estate Tax: Should We Care?

The Federal Estate Tax has been in the news a great deal lately, mainly because there exists a great uncertainty as to its future. However, a high majority of citizens will never owe it, because one’s estate must be valued at quite a high level before any tax is imposed.  For example, up to one’s…

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Removal of the Personal Representative

Going through probate is especially difficult.  If you are a beneficiary, you were likely quite close with the deceased, and would prefer to have the whole process be over with.  But what if you are having problems with the executor, trustee or personal representative (hereinafter “PR”)?  Can you get rid of the PR?  How?  The…

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Tenancy by the Entirety — Ownership Between Spouses

Today, we discuss tenancy by the entirety ownership in Virginia and Maryland. The discussion is obviously not an exhaustive restatement of the law upon which you can strictly rely, but is intended only as a broad summary.  Read more...

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Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives

In addition to drafting a will or trust, it is also essential to plan for any time when you would be unable to make decisions for yourself.  This can be done through either documenting your wishes in advance or to delegate your decision-making to another trusted individual.  The primary instruments used today to accomplish these…

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Choosing Your Personal Representative

One of the most important tasks in preparing your estate is choosing who will fulfill the responsibilities of carrying out the closure of your assets and liabilities.  Once appointed, your personal representative (or “agent”) will have the fiduciary duty to act in your estate’s best interests.  Violation of this or other duties could result in…

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Drive-Thrus & Attorney Fees

In developing this blog, I have received valuable training and coaching from the good folks over at “Start Blogging Today”.  One of the things they emphasize is that the blogger should try to maintain specialization in the blog’s topic rather than an “include the kitchen sink” approach.  I have taken this advice as a challenge…

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