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Estate Planning Considerations for Business Owners

Estate planning is an important task for everyone, but not everyone has the same experience when creating their estate plan. Business owners, for example, are tasked with securing the legacy and the finances of both their business and their family in the event that a worst-case scenario situation unfolds. With that in mind, we’d like to offer a few considerations that business owners should have in mind when grappling with their estate planning.

Business Succession Planning

If a business owner passes away before creating an estate plan, business assets may be passed on to the next-of-kin or their spouse.  Depending on the nature of your business and your family’s involvement, this may not be problematic. However, you will need to actively plan a transfer of assets to non-related business partners if you have a specific heir in mind.

Ultimately, all business owners should have a plan for transfer of ownership. This way, the plan can be enacted in case you become unable to work, or if you decide it is time to retire from the business on your own accord.

Protecting Your Family

In addition to planning a smooth transfer of ownership, business estate planning can also set your family up with adequate support in the long run. Throughout the planning process, you can select life insurance and disability insurance policies that match your needs and provide assistance with expenses in case you are no longer able to provide income.

Another popular method of protecting loved ones is using tools like living trusts. With a living trust in place, business owners can begin the transfer of assets to loved ones during their lifetime. An advantage here is that your estate will be smaller at the time of passing, meaning the tax burden of the estate will also be smaller.

One final advantage of getting started on your estate planning is that you will buy plenty of time to divide family assets and business assets. This could potentially save a lot of stress and prevent creditors from attempting to repay business debts with family assets after your passing.

If You Are a Business Owner in Need of Estate Planning Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Assistance.

If you are searching for an estate planning attorney in Maryland, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

You’ve Been Named a Trust Beneficiary, Now What?

You’ve just been told you’ve been named a beneficiary of a trust, and we wouldn’t blame you for having a lot of questions about what comes next. Here is your crash course! In this blog, we’ll examine the role of a trust beneficiary, the various types of trusts, and the rights you have after being named a trust beneficiary.

What is a Trust Beneficiary?

As you may already understand, a trust beneficiary is the person who benefits from a trust, typically by receiving the trust income or assets. There are two types of trusts, and it’s important for you to know which type the grantor has chosen to get an understanding of how to best proceed from here.

  • Testamentary Trusts – A trust created upon the death of an individual.
  • Living Trusts – A trust created while the grantor is still living.

There are also two unique types of living trusts that will greatly shape the transfer of assets process:

  • Revocable – Allows assets to be changed or returned to the grantor prior to their passing.
  • Irrevocable – Assets are permanently removed from the grantor’s estate, allowing for a tax-free transfer after their passing.

What are My Rights as a Trust Beneficiary?

  • Payment – Beneficiaries have the right to monetary and asset distributions outlined by the grantor in their trust document.
  • Right to information. Trust beneficiaries may ask about the trust in order to gain a thorough understanding of their rights and the planned administration of the estate.
  • Right to a special accounting. A trustee is named by the grantor to ensure their wishes are met and assets are properly distributed. If a beneficiary suspects an issue with the performance of a trustee, they have the right to request a special accounting.
  • Remove the trustee. If a trustee is performing less than optimally, beneficiaries may come together and request their removal from the trust.
  • End the trust- If a trust has been fulfilled or is impossible to completely fulfill, remaining beneficiaries may agree to petition the court to end the trust.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Next Steps as a Trust Beneficiary

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

The Path Toward Securing the Recovery You Deserve After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries range in severity and could require anywhere between a few weeks and several years to fully recover. Amid this recovery process, victims also have to endure potential financial burdens along with lost time at work. With such serious implications, it is critical for victims of traumatic injuries to make every effort possible to secure the recovery they deserve. Here is how that process will likely unfold in the state of Maryland.

Collecting Evidence of a Traumatic Brain Injury

In order to receive compensation for a traumatic brain injury in the state of Maryland, one must be able to prove that they have indeed fallen victim to such an injury. Most often, these items are presented to establish the legitimacy of the incident:

  • Diagnostic records
  • Doctor’s notes
  • Neuropsychologist reports
  • Test results
  • Physical therapy requirements

If you find yourself suffering from a traumatic brain injury it would benefit you greatly to hire an attorney. Not only will an attorney speak with you directly to document all the ways in which the injury has impacted your life and daily activities, but they will also assist in gathering these above records for you. Most often, traumatic brain injuries lead to one or more of the following cognitive impairments as well as the potential for new physical disabilities:

  • Increased difficulty communicating
  • Increased difficulty reading
  • Reduced memory
  • Reduced capacity to form new memories
  • Reduced attention span
  • Reduced sensory capacity
  • Processing/ understanding difficulties

Presenting Evidence

After evidence is gathered, it will be time to present it. This will either take place in a courtroom or during a settlement. If your case reaches its conclusion via settlement, your doctor will submit a summary of your treatment along with your medical records documenting the injury. This information, along with reported symptoms from the patient, will be the basis of the presentation.

Assuming the case goes to trial, the doctors who administered care will testify and explain their findings, pursued avenues of treatment, and forecast any further difficulties down the road as a direct result of the traumatic brain injury.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help in the Aftermath of Your Accident or Injury

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your accident or injury, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. Contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today to begin gathering evidence and forming a plan to secure the best possible outcomes for your recovery. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

How to End a Business Partnership in Maryland

Disagreements and disputes are simply a part of life, and they occasionally occur between business partners as well. While attempts are generally made to come to agreements and move forward together, sometimes it is clear that parting ways is the best financial or life decision for both parties. In this blog, we’ll offer a few tips to make your split as easy and affordable as possible.

Review Business Partnership Agreement

In the early stages of any business partnership, a document is usually created outlining the details of the partnership. The partnership agreement likely contains plans to be adhered to in the event that dissolution is necessary due to subpar profits, retirement, or other scenarios. Usually, problems arise if the document is vague or if an agreement was never documented in the first place. In these cases, turning to business litigation and relying on a court to divide assets is generally the pursued route forward.

Total Assets and Liabilities

Assets and liabilities must be divided as part of the splitting process, and that means that they must first be calculated. If you are unable to come to an agreement on these calculations, that is generally a sign that you could benefit from a third party to assist in the assessment. Be sure to have these factors in mind when auditing your business before a split:

  • Ownership interest of each partner
  • Liabilities involving creditors
  • Assets owned jointly by the partnership
  • The total value of the business

Creating the Dissolution Agreement

After auditing assets and liabilities and coming to a mutual agreement, it’s time to draft the dissolution agreement. As you do so, there are several critical questions partners should be sure to address:

  • How will liabilities be divided?
  • What course of legal action will be taken if a partner fails to pay creditors?
  • How will assets be divided once creditors are paid?
  • How will property ownership be handled?
  • If any partners are unable to cover debts, how will they be repaid?
  • Which partner is responsible for the dissolution procedure?

Once these questions are ironed out and the document has been signed, it’s time to file the document with the state of Maryland. If you are once again unable to reach an agreement, the next course of action will likely be to turn to the courts for a resolution.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Business Partnership Split

If you are searching for a business attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Estate Planning in Uncertain Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of the uncertainty around every corner in life. Since we really can’t predict what the future holds, a great way to achieve peace of mind for yourself and your family moving forward is to review your estate planning in 2021. Even if you’ve already “completed” your estate planning, you should keep in mind that the value of assets can change over time, tax laws change, and even your final wishes can change. During this continued time of relative uncertainty, here are a few items you should check on pertaining to your estate.

Reviewing Your Will and Power of Attorney

The will and power of attorney are living documents, which means they can and should be updated as your life changes to reflect your current lifestyle, needs and preferences. Many people view the work of an estate planning attorney as a one-time task, but it should be updated annually. Failing to update your will or power of attorney could leave you in a situation where your current wishes are not executed, and you are unable to properly articulate your preferences. Relationships change, assets change, your location changes and tax laws change. Are your will and power of attorney changing to reflect that?

Reviewing Your Power of Attorney

The power of attorney designation gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf in a variety of circumstances, whether it is medically when you are incapacitated or financially. You should always review who your power of attorney is annually and in the event of illness. If you’re married, divorced or simply changed your mind about who you want to act on your behalf, now is the perfect time to revise your power of attorney document.

Reviewing Your Will

Reviewing your will annually is another important task. How can you quickly review your will? Grab a copy and, before you sit down with your attorney at Mobley and Brown, LLP, simply consider the following questions:

  • Is anyone missing who should be listed on the document?
  • Are there people listed in the document that should not be?
  • Have the circumstances of any individuals listed changed since it was drafted? Are they no longer of sound mind to receive a certain gift or serve as executor?
  • How are you feeling about the division of your assets?

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help for Families Who Need Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Is There More Than One Way that Police Can Charge a Person After Driving Under the Influence?

In the state of Maryland, there are multiple charges associated with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many people assume DWIs and DUIs are the same thing, and while they are similar, there are a few key distinctions you should be aware of if you have been charged with either crime.

What is a DWI?

DWI, or driving while impaired, is the less serious of Maryland’s two drinking and driving offenses. DWI charges are given to those who drive with a blood alcohol concentration level detected between .07% and .08%. However, an individual could still be charged with DWI despite testing just below the legal limit assuming they exhibited unsafe and unpredictable driving.

Maryland DWI Consequences

DWI punishments aren’t as serious as DUI punishments, but it is still a misdemeanor crime that should be avoided or reduced with the help of an attorney. At maximum, DWI offenders can expect a fine of $500, 60 days of jail time, and 8 penalty points added to their driving record.

What is a DUI?

A DUI, stands for driving under the influence. This could mean driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The drugs could be over-the-counter, prescription or illegal. Naturally, DUI charges are the more serious drinking and driving charge in Maryland. The key distinction between DUI and DWI charges is that DUIs are given to drivers who test above a blood alcohol concentration level of .08%. Because it is the more serious offense, it typically involves more serious consequences.

Maryland DUI Consequences

First time DUI offenders can be subject to steep punishment, and the consequences only ramp up for second- and third-time offenders. First time offenders may be required to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 and may be subject to a year of jail time depending on the specifics of the case. That fine increases to $2,000 and $3,000 for second- and third-time offenders respectively, with a potential additional year of jail time for each additional offense. A DUI in the state of Maryland will also come with 12 penalty points administered to the driver’s record.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your Driving Under the Influence Case

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve.   Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Does Personal Injury Mean as a Legal Term?

Personal injury law is a major field, but if you haven’t been involved in a personal injury case yourself, it wouldn’t be surprising if you don’t know the nuances just yet. To determine whether you should pursue a personal injury case, let’s explore what personal injury really means as a legal term.

Personal Injury Law

“Personal injury” typically refers to the law that governs victims of preventable accidents or injuries caused by another party. Personal injury cases are those where one of those victims seeks legal remedy from the party that they believe is at fault for the preventable accident or injury. Personal injury cases occur as a result of negligence, carelessness, or disregard of the safety of others rather than an active attempt of malice.

Personal injury cases can include a variety of situations that directly led to an injury. Common situations include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Plane accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Dog attacks
  • Workplace injuries
  • Product liability
  • Premises liability

Because the definition of personal injury law is so broad, it’s important to seek an experienced lawyer.

What Does Personal Injury Mean in Terms of Damages?

Since personal injury cases are civil claims, they can be resolved through awarding compensation to the victim instead of penalties, jail time or sanctions that might be awarded in a criminal case. Instead, personal injury awards are monetary and can be equivalent in the opinion of the court to:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost future wages or decreased earning potential
  • Physical suffering and pain
  • Mental pain
  • Lost quality of life
  • Psychological injury
  • Losses for permanent scarring and/or disfigurement
  • Transportation costs

Because every accident is different and every victim is different, the amount awarded from case to case can dramatically vary. One car accident might only have a small monetary award, while another could be tremendous. The impact of pain and suffering is not quantifiable with a specific algorithm, meaning it is the job of attorneys to help clients arrive at a figure that is just and meets their needs throughout the recovery process.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help in the Aftermath of Your Accident or Injury

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your accident or injury, looking to seek compensation through a personal injury case and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What to Do if You Are Charged with Resisting Arrest in Maryland

Regardless of whether you actually committed a crime, resisting arrest by using force is a sure way to end up with a criminal charge. However, that doesn’t mean that every resisting arrest charge is lawful. Do you think you may have been wrongfully charged with resisting arrest? Let’s take a look at some of the nuances of Maryland law to gain a better understanding of your situation and how Mobley and Brown may be able to help.

How are Resisting Arrest Charges Triggered?

Resisting arrest charges are primarily centered around the use of force. In order to be charged with resisting arrest, an individual must be either physically or verbally trying to avoid standard arrest procedures when interacting with law enforcement. It is also worth considering that individuals who impede the arrest of another person may also be subject to charges.

When suspects flee law enforcement, they are not subject to resisting arrest charges since no force was used.

Defending Against the Charges

When you work with a defense attorney, we will thoroughly walk through the situation that led to your charges to come up with the best defense possible. In order to be convicted, the prosecution must be able to offer a seamless argument that the following three things happened:

  • An arrest took place
  • The arrest was 100% lawful
  • Use of force was implemented in an effort to prevent the arrest

Safe Advice for Police Interactions That Go South

We have a few pointers you can implement in order to keep yourself as safe as possible during interactions with law enforcement. Above all, your safety is the most important thing during any law enforcement interaction. If an officer is trying to arrest you, regardless of whether you have committed a crime, the safest thing to do is to meet the arrest with no resistance. If you are innocent, that can be proven in due time, but there is no reason to try to prove your innocence on the spot and resort to the use of force. Thus, we recommend staying calm and compliant to keep any additional charges from racking up.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP if You Are Charged with Resisting Arrest in Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Is a Will Enough for Your Estate Planning?

At some point, we won’t be around anymore to take care of our loved ones. That’s why most individuals start creating an estate plan that ensures their wishes are met when the inevitable takes place down the road. Is a will always enough to ensure your needs are met? Here are some scenarios in which you may benefit from more than a will as you begin your estate planning.

Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney are simply documents that allow lawyers or other trusted agents to act on your behalf. You may choose to pursue this avenue for a variety of reasons. Most often, individuals do so to ease the burden of tasks like selling real estate, filing taxes, paying bills and providing clear healthcare treatment preferences.

Living Will

A living will, or advanced directive, allows individuals to make choices about their final days well in advance. Without a living will in place, there may be several unanswered questions regarding how to handle major life decisions, including Do Not Resuscitate orders, organ donations and palliative care preferences. Instead, your loved ones would be left with, and potentially emotionally burdened by these decisions.

Trust

A will is a great foundation for a solid estate plan, but a trust may be worth heavily considering as an add on for many people entering the estate planning process. A crucial thing to remember is that wills only take effect after an individual has passed. Until then, if they were to become incapacitated, they would be unable to provide critical information regarding the handling of their finances. Trusts, on the other hand, go into effect the moment they are signed.  Other advantages of trusts include the fact that they allow assets to bypass probate, distribute assets faster than a will, are more private than a will and allow you to set age requirements for asset inheritance.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help for Families Who Need Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What to Look for in a DUI Lawyer in Maryland

Last month, we explored the potential penalties associated with a DUI conviction in the state of Maryland. The conviction ultimately results in a misdemeanor crime, but additional penalties such as fines, license restrictions, probation and jail time vary depending on the specifics of the case. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of Maryland DUI law represent you. Here are a few tips you can use to select the right DUI lawyer.

Look for Experience and Past Successes

Experience is a valuable trait for a DUI lawyer, but its only part of the picture. Be sure to get a clear idea of how your prospective attorney has been representing their clients over the years. If you discover that they have a positive reputation, you should favor them over lawyers with spotty track records.

Great Communicators Make Great DUI Lawyers

Many attorneys offer free consultations before you enlist their services, and it’s an offer we recommend taking them up on. Before you commit to an attorney, you’ll want to confirm that they are an effective communicator. A precise understanding of DUI law is critical, but it shouldn’t overshadow the importance of first-rate communication skills when arguing in your favor. A confident communicator can offer a great deal of peace of mind to those trying to navigate through the DUI process alone.  This also includes making certain you understand the nuances of the Maryland DUI laws in its simplest form.

Stick to Your Area During Your Searching Process

You may come across attorneys from other towns, or even states, that catch your eye. Our best advice? Stick with an attorney who is local to the area the DUI initially took place in. Local attorneys are likely to have a firm grasp of local DUI law, and they will also bring their established relationships with district attorneys and judges to the table.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve.   Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.