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Frequently Asked Legal Questions
I think I can write my own estate planning
documents and business contracts, why should I hire an
Do-it-yourself law is not new. In fact, individuals have
been preparing their own estate planning documents, business
contracts and defending
themselves in court for years. Abraham Lincoln
once said "a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a
client." The problem with do-it-yourself law is that
you will miss something and it will cost both time and money to
repair when it could have been prevented in the first place,
which makes the money-saving aspect of do-it-yourself law
self-defeating. Also, an improperly drafted estate
planning document, such as a will, power of attorney or
trust can have disastrous consequences.
I work during the week and it is not convenient for me
to meet with a lawyer during normal business hours, what should I do?
You should call the Proy Law Firm to schedule an after-hours
or Saturday appointment.
When should I think about updating my estate plan?
Optimally, you should update your estate plan once every
other year. However, this is not always practical, so
at a minimum you should update your estate planning when you:
(1) get married; (2) purchase a home; (3) purchase any large assets; (4) have children; and (5) experience a change
in life circumstances such as divorce or death of a spouse.
My significant other and I purchased a house together
before we got married, do we need to do anything special
Yes! When a non-married couple purchases a home, or
any other real property, they are not entitled to special
privileges that exist only for married couples. Many
couples forget to re-title their house after they get
married, depriving themselves of privileges they are
entitled to by law after marriage.
Question: What exactly does a power of attorney do?
A power of attorney gives one person (the "agent")
the full legal
authority to act on another's (the "principal") behalf. A power of
attorney can become effective upon certain conditions, such
as incapacity or disability, or immediately with no
conditions. However, all powers of attorney become null
and void upon death of the principal.
Question: Why should I consider other business entities when I see
many other small businesses using a limited liability company (LLC)?
Every business entity has its own advantages and
disadvantages such as tax consequences, corporate governance
and how you want the business to function. You should
always determine the best entity for your particular
I have heard on the radio/television/newspaper that living
trusts are much better than wills, why would I want to have
A trust is not "better" than a will, a trust simply operates
differently when it comes to distributing your estate's assets.
Estate assets passing through a will go through the Orphan's Court
in probate proceedings whereas estate assets passing through a
living trust are handled privately. Even if you decide
to utilize a living trust you will still need a will.
Question: I have a established a living trust and would like to
title my vehicle into the trust, what do you recommend?
Answer: The decision
whether or not to title your vehicle into your trust is a decision
only you can make. On the one hand titling your
vehicle into your trust exposes your trust's assets to
potential liability, and on the other hand the vehicle will have
to go through probate proceedings if it is not titled into
your trust. I will not tell you if you should title a
vehicle into your trust because only you know your driving
habits and how comfortable you are with your insurance
protection, but I will be more than happy to discuss the
advantages and disadvantages of titling a vehicle into your
trust with you.
Question: What is the difference between federal court and
Answer: Both the
state and federal courts have trial courts to hear claims
for the first time, just as they both have appellate courts
to hear appeals from the trial courts. At a state
level, this trial court is either the District Court of
Maryland or the Circuit Court of Maryland. These state courts hear
typical civil court claims (such as personal injury claims,
landlord-tenant matters, contract disputes, etc...).
At the federal level, the trial court for Maryland is the
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. This,
federal courts, hears all cases involving the U.S.
Constitution (such as Copyrights), matters relating to
federal law (such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act) and
matters between residents of different states (as long as
the claim is large enough).