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Estates, Trusts & Elder Care Law

Miles & Stockbridge lawyers are skilled at assisting individuals and families with some of their most complex challenges: planning the preservation of their hard-earned financial assets, assuring the care of an elderly person or resolving difficult controversies of child custody and divorce. The legal services we provide are tailored to each specific situation involving assets, relationships and special needs. They can be as simple as a basic will, or as complex as an international divorce and custody dispute. In all our work, we draw upon the full resources of our Miles & Stockbridge colleagues involved in tax, litigation, real estate, employee benefits and many other related fields of law. Moreover, whatever the issue, we never forget that we are dealing with human lives. We are committed to bringing a sense of order and assurance, to communicate honestly and directly about the legal issues involved and to maintain full confidentiality at all times.

Estates and Trusts

We develop estate plans that help clients in all family situations and at all income levels provide for their beneficiaries, minimize their taxes, preserve their financial assets and benefit individuals as well as charitable and non-profit organizations. To this end, our lawyers fully utilize the flexibility allowed by the tax code to create a variety of trusts and funds for individuals and families, handling all necessary documentation and filings. When a family business is involved, we prepare all documentation to implement the wishes of the business ownership: succession plans, buy/sell agreements, family limited liability companies for transfer of assets, and more. We also efficiently handle the business and legal issues involved with trust and estate administration, and effectively resolve controversies over tax issues and the terms of wills, trusts and estate plans.

Estates & Trust Litigation

Dedication, measurable experience, and a compassionate understanding of your estate and trust issues are what set Miles & Stockbridge’s Trust & Estate Litigation Group apart from others. Our lawyers are accomplished litigators with a firm knowledge of trust and estate law – which is a rare combination. We also know that estate and trust disputes can be difficult for clients – they often involve the death of a loved one, or disputes among close family members. When corporate trustees or financial institutions need representation, we know they want exceptional, economical, and responsive service. Sophisticated knowledge of the law, an innovative approach to early resolutions, an understanding of family dynamics, and proven litigation skills are what make up our Trust & Estate litigation team.

Elder Care

Miles & Stockbridge lawyers deal effectively with the individual and institutional issues of elder care. Our clients are elderly individuals and their families or guardians, as well as long-term care facilities, hospitals and nursing homes. Our experience on both sides of elder care matters enables us to combine legal and institutional knowledge with a detailed understanding of the care and estate-planning problems of the elderly. We provide effective and compassionate resolution to a wide range of problems.

A key issue in elder care is often the extent to which medical treatment should be used to prolong life. Our lawyers draft advanced directive documents to ensure that our clients' wishes regarding treatment and care are carried out should they become incapacitated. We advise health care providers on terms and instructions, and handle controversies that arise when family members dispute or ignore the terms. When no care instructions exist, we can either represent the facility to seek the Court's appointment of a guardian, or represent the interests of the patient in guardianship proceedings. Jurisdictions in Maryland frequently differ on the extent and complexity of the medical testimony needed in Court to confirm providing or withholding medical treatment, and our lawyers have substantial experience at guiding the Court on such difficult decisions.

Similarly, we represent hospitals and long-term care institutions when they seek Court guidance and instructions on providing or withholding care when instructions are absent or in dispute. We also advise long-term care facilities on patient-discharge planning, including the requirements for legal representation of patients. Our operational counsel to these facilities also involves licensing and certification issues. We frequently defend institutions faced with government allegations of care deficiencies.

Financial controversies involving individuals and institutions are an inescapable element of elder care. Our lawyers advise the elderly and their families on spend down and timely filing for Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Mistakes are easily made in the complex application process, and we advise on the full range of disclosure issues and filing options. We also handle financial collection issues involving the elderly, particularly medical treatment controversies under the Maryland law that prohibits family members from being responsible for patient debts.