Estates/Trusts

rise to every asset protection challenge

planning for what matters

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Frank S. Baldino
Principal
301-657-0175
Eric M. Core
Principal
301-657-0171
Michael J. Goecke
Principal
301-657-0185
William A. Goldberg
Principal
301-907-2813
Will Hellams
Principal
301-841-3843

Lerch Early’s estate and trust attorneys help people throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area protect their assets while minimizing tax liability through sophisticated planning and administration.

People turn to Lerch Early’s estate and trust attorneys to help them tackle the financial and emotional aspects of managing their assets during life and distributing them after death. Thoughtful estate planning ensures that your property benefits the family members, friends, or charities that matter most to you while reducing or deferring the impact of state and federal transfer taxes. It also includes stating your health care preferences and who will make decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. We also help estate and trust beneficiaries and personal representatives administer estates and trusts as time- and tax-efficiently as possible.

Whether it’s designing an estate plan or administering an estate, our attorneys are hands-on and are fully involved in every step of the process. We don’t simply fill out forms – we get to know you, your family, your assets, your business, and all other important aspects of your life to guide our preparation of your estate plan. We anticipate problems, whether tax-related, interpersonal, or financial, to reduce the risk of discord and litigation as your plan is implemented. All our estate and trust principals have attained masters’ degrees in the laws of taxation, and are well-trained to devise the most tax-efficient strategies to plan or administer your estate or trust. Over the past 30 years, we’ve developed processes that minimize attorney time and related costs for our clients. When appropriate, we tap into the knowledge of attorneys in the firm’s other practice areas, such as family law and real estate, to provide you with the benefit of their experience. We also work with our clients’ accountants, financial planners, insurance representatives and investment advisors to fully integrate the knowledge and expertise of every professional in whom our clients have placed their trust.

While we generally avoid the expense and delays involved in litigation whenever possible, we’re skilled in the use of the judicial process to resolve administration controversies such as will disputes or alleged breaches of fiduciary duties.

Contact

Frank S. Baldino
Chair

Experience
  • Developed an estate plan for two married professionals, a doctor and a lawyer, who were concerned about protecting their assets from potential creditors of the medical practice. Used trusts to shelter assets, thereby protecting their assets from claims and creditors of the business.
  • Counseled a couple about guardianship of their minor children if they both died. In this case, thoroughly discussed who was best positioned to provide care for the children and manage their inheritance, and ultimately appointed one relative as the legal guardian and another as the trustee of trusts for the children.
  • Created estate plans for a couple where each person had been married previously and had children from their prior marriage. Set up qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trusts, which would provide spousal payments based on income earned by the trust and discretionary payments of trust principal, with the remaining principal transferring to the children from the first marriages after the death of the second spouse.
  • Prepared an advance directive for a client newly diagnosed with cancer, discussing her treatment preferences in the event her disease progressed, and designating certain of her children as her health care decision-makers.
  • Developed a lifetime gifting plan for a family business owner. Minimized gifts taxes and leveraged the lifetime gift tax exemption through the use of discounts and intergenerational transfer trusts like GRATs and GRUTs, which resulted in tax savings as a result of transferring interests in the family business and interests in a real estate LLC to trusts for the benefit of her children.
  • Counseled clients on developing a charitable giving plan, including deciding how much to give, which assets to give, how to determine which organizations should receive the gifts, the way in which the gifts were to be used, and the manner of making the gifts (outright gifts or gifts to trusts for the benefit of the charity versus a family foundation).
  • Worked with corporate lawyers to develop both short- and long-term business succession plans for a closely held business in order to achieve the long-term success of the family enterprise.
  • Litigated as lead counsel in contested estate matter resulting in the Orphans’ Court requiring the personal representative to return $100,000 in excess compensation to the estate for distribution to our clients, the beneficiaries.
  • Represented client in complicated trust litigation and obtained favorable settlement weeks after filing complaint for misrepresentation and before any discovery was taken.
  • Won a dispositive summary judgment motion on 28 out of 29 issues in a complex will contest between siblings in Montgomery County Circuit Court. As a result, the sibling challenging the will withdrew his final issue on the eve of trial, and forfeited his claim to 25% of the estate.
  • Recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Personal Representative of an estate in a case alleging fraud and other misconduct by one of the decedent’s children. By involving the Office of the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, which investigated and determined that criminal conduct had occurred, obtained a swift and comprehensive settlement.
  • Obtained an inheritance of nearly $50,000 for a 90-year-old homeless man in connection with a pro bono representation, enabling him to receive critical medical treatment.
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