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Creating a Predictable Future for Loved Ones in Maryland

A couple spent the weekend camping in the forest to celebrate their 12th anniversary. Driving home without using seatbelts, the couple ran into two deer crossing the road. They were thrown from the car and died on impact. The couple had two children under 10 years old, a primary residence, a beach house, and a recycling company. Under the assumption that they were too young to worry about a will, the couple never created an estate plan.   

From appointing a guardian for minor children in case of death to forming a trust and creating a will, a tailored estate plan is critical to protect assets and provide for the care of loved ones. An estate law attorney can assist clients with drafting standard and complex instruments that manifest the client’s objectives upon death or divorce.

Avoiding intestacy issues

A valid will may designate a guardian for children and a trustworthy individual to administer the estate, and label and classify all assets. If no will exists, a person passes intestate, property is divided in accordance with Maryland probate law, and the court appoints a guardian. Prior to a court granting a guardianship under Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-819.2, all necessary factors must be considered to determine the best interests of the child, including the requirements of an individual to be a guardian:

  • Home study
  • Child protective services history check
  • Criminal history records check
  • Review of the proposed guardian’s physical and mental health history 

To prevent the court from making the decision as to who gets custody over children or who gets property, it is invaluable for individuals to formulate estate plans with the assistance of a dedicated estate planning and family law attorney. An attorney at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. can provide important information about family law and estate planning and outstanding representation. The firm represents clients throughout southern Maryland. 

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