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What's Up Magazine


May 09, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo
 Our focus is the law of estates and trusts. Some firms offer, or claim to offer, a wide variety of services to clients. We do not. Our clients benefit because we concentrate on the law of estates and trusts. Within this practice niche, we do it all:

Estate and Asset Protection Planning.
Estate planning is the process of organizing your personal and financial affairs to be prepared in the event of disability and to arrange for the orderly transmittal of your property to your intended beneficiaries. The key is to fashion a plan specifically designed for your needs and desires. We work with our clients, taking the time necessary to ascertain those needs and desires, and to explore various ways to implement a tailor-made estate plan.  It is not just about saving taxes (although it certainly involves that). It is about making sure your plan is implemented while protecting your intended beneficiaries. 

Fiduciary Litigation.
Fiduciary litigation concerns disputes involving estates and trusts. We handle disputes over the meaning of estate planning documents, arguments involving personal representatives or trustees, and challenges to documents based on lack of capacity or undue influence. On a regular basis, we try cases before the Orphans’ Court and Circuit Court of the various Maryland counties. We also take appeals to the Court of Special Appeals and the Maryland Court of Appeals. We are not, however, a general litigation firm. We focus on Will, Trust, and other fiduciary litigation. 

"You make the complex issues surrounding estate planning easily understandable for the layperson."

Estate and Trust Administration. Estate and trust administration is the process of winding up a decedent’s financial affairs and implementing the plan contained in the will or trust. If a decedent dies without a valid estate plan in place, the estate needs to be settled in accordance with state law. There may be estate or inheritance taxes that need to be addressed. There may be post-mortem planning opportunities involving tax elections, disclaimers, and/or funding decisions that could favorably impact the intended beneficiaries. Administering an estate or trust can seem overwhelming. We can make the job more manageable by assisting you in every facet of the task. We prepare all estate and trust tax returns in-house so we are able to offer seamless administration services taking you from beginning to end.

For over 35 years, we have focused on the law of estates and trusts. The firm has developed deep experience and expertise in the practice area. “Doing it all” within our practice niche creates a synergy that strengthens our handling of each matter. Our approach to planning, for example, is strengthened by the fact that we administer estates and trusts. Our handling of both planning and administration is informed by the lessons learned from our fiduciary litigation practice. Our fiduciary litigation practice, in turn, benefits from our understanding of the substantive issues that arise during the planning and administration process. 

Not only does the firm “do it all” within the practice niche, but our professionals do it all as well. The firm culture promotes a deep understanding of the law of estates and trusts by continually involving the lawyers, accountant, paralegals and other professional staff in all aspects of the practice. This means that knowledge and expertise builds on itself.

"We consistently were surprised and delighted by the way your law office was thinking on our behalf and was coming up with solutions for problems we didn't even think about."

Clients are clients of the whole firm – not just of one lawyer in the firm. This starts from the initial meeting and continues to the end. This collaborative approach, coupled with the office-wide involvement in all aspects of an estates and trusts practice, lets us deliver the highest quality of client services. Our approach makes us cost effective while leveraging the knowledge of seasoned lawyers and staff.

The firm consists of three partners: Fred Franke, David Sessions, and Jack Beckett; and one associate, Deb Howe. Fred, the firm’s founder, is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He is a past chair of the Estate and Trust Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association. All three partners have written articles for law reviews or other publications for lawyers and each has presented continuing education courses for fellow lawyers on estates/trusts topics. Aside from giving back to the profession, these activities deepen and extend the firm’s understanding of the law of estates and trusts, improving the quality of the advice and client services.

The Law of Estates and Trusts
Planning - Administration - Litigation
151 West Street, Suite 301, Annapolis, MD 21401
410-263-4876 |