As we use the term, estate planning refers to the process of making thoughtful arrangements for the care and provision of yourself and your family members and for the management and disposition of your assets in the event of your incapacity or death. Estate planning is concerned with the people in your life, not simply your assets -- ultimately, estate planning is “others-centered.”
Estate Administration refers to the process of "settling" a decedent’s estate. It includes tasks such as marshaling the estate assets, paying the bills of the decedent and the estate, preparing and filing all applicable federal and state tax returns, identifying and erecting the trusts created by the decedent’s Will and distributing the "estate" assets in accordance with the directions in that Will. Most importantly, for our firm, the estate administration process is about walking with the decedent’s family and guiding them through all these many tasks in a careful and caring way.
Our tax planning practice focuses primarily on helping clients to mitigate or even eliminate the federal and state transfer taxes that can arise when assets are gifted during life or transferred at death, or when they are distributed from a trust.
As we engage in charitable planning, we work to use the various techniques that are available (including charitable trusts) to fulfill our client’s charitable intentions in the most tax-efficient way.
As owners of family businesses near retirement, they often wish to shift control of their businesses to one or more other family members. We advise business owners on shifting control of their business in a manner that is fair and equitable to their family at large.
While “planning after the fact” may sound oxymoronic, there are, in fact, numerous steps that may be taken in the aftermath of one’s death to minimize both the income and transfer taxes that are then applicable. We are careful in our estate administration process to engage post-mortem planning to maximize the opportunities afforded by the “pre-planning” that was done and to supplement or even correct deficiencies where the estate plan was incomplete.
Stewart, Plant & Blumenthal, LLC, a people-centered law firm devoted to estate, trust, and tax planning.
Stewart, Plant & Blumenthal, LLC was founded in 1991 by attorneys from three major Baltimore law firms with the goal of creating a law firm focused exclusively on trusts and estates and tax planning. Decades later, our attorneys and legal staff are recognized as leaders in transferring wealth from one generation to the next in the most practical and efficient manner. We believe that every family’s situation is different, and endeavor to develop the estate planning strategy best suited to achieve each particular client’s unique objectives.