Here in the Information Age we have all the information in the world at our fingertips. You can go on WebMD to search symptoms of an illness before talking to a doctor, Zillow to shop houses before you talk to a Realtor, and to a host of legal form and information sites to look at documents and articles before you talk to a lawyer. Much, however, like WebMD cannot write you a prescription for your ailment and Zillow is not able to settle on your new home for you, those legal sites are unable to appear in court on your behalf to tell your story and make sure you have your day in court.
Where technology was supposed to make our lives easier, simpler, and more convenient, it has often done the opposite. So much of the legal, medical, business and technical worlds have become highly specialized that few professionals can ‘do it all.’ Some lawyers only represent clients in traffic or criminal matters, others handle nothing but Wills and Trusts for their clients.
When it comes to writing your estate plan, the attorneys at King Hall LLCencourage you to find a lawyer that practices only in estate and trust planning. Such an attorney will know the nuances of the estate and tax laws that may affect your family. Yet, sometimes, even that attorney fails to predict the circumstances that lead to your family having to seek counsel to resolve confusion or tension in your estate after you die.
That’s right, not even dying is simple anymore: there are death certificates, estates to be opened, insurance policies and retirement accounts to be claimed by your loved ones, and typographical errors in your carefully drafted Will or Trust that no one saw and no one expected to require a judge to decipher or resolve.
Naturally, the family will go to the attorney who wrote your legal documents to see if she or he can help them. If the attorney wrote it and made the error, then the attorney can fix it, right? Not always.
Take a look at one of the best kept secrets, Maryland Judiciary Case Search, and see if your lawyer has ever been in court. Better yet, see if your lawyer has been in court for anything that did not name him as a party. Was the court appearance for more than a routine motion, where everyone agreed but just needed the formality of a court order? Did the parties engage in discovery (depositions, interrogatories, document production)? Has the lawyer ever tried a case to a verdict before a jury of your peers? Most transactional attorneys excel at technical thinking and careful, patient drafting but are not the greatest oral advocates in a courtroom. As such, they avoid the courtroom and (should) stick to the conference room. The rigors of contested, complex litigation have harsh and demanding deadlines that detract from the transactional attorney’s ability to counsel and guide clients who are trying to avoid litigation in the first place.
At King Hall LLC, our attorneys have spent years drafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance directives. At the same time, we have years of experience appearing in court on behalf of clients to prosecute or defend estates, trusts and guardianships in cases where the documents were drafted ineffectively by other lawyers or where the documents simply did not envision an unfortunate disagreement amongst heirs.
King Hall LLC attorneys are unique in their experience and ability to both write the estate plan and to appear in court on behalf of Personal Representatives, Trustees, Guardians, Attorneys-in-Fact, healthcare agents, and other fiduciaries as well as beneficiaries, legatees, and the victims of fraud, undue influence, or scrivener’s error. When choosing an attorney to appear in court, look first to King Hall. When looking for an attorney to write your documents, make the same decision.
Barrett R. King, Esq.
5300 Dorsey Hall Drive
Ellicott City, Maryland 21042