An Award-Winning, Women-Owned & Operated Law Firm

Wills, Trusts, Estates & Probate

We help our clients plan for their futures and protect their families based on real-world experience.

Overview

Our attorneys provide comprehensive estate planning that protects your family, preserves your wishes after death, and also ensures that your living objectives are known. Many of our lawyers have been recognized as “Legal Elite” in DC and Virginia for Taxes/Estate/Trusts, as well as “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers. 

Many clients think that estate planning is only for the extremely wealthy, for people with complicated family dynamics, or for the elderly, but the reality is that any adult can benefit from estate planning. 

A simple Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directive can give a college student the ability to have their parents remain involved in finances or specific medical situations as they bridge the gap toward independence. Parents of a newborn would benefit from a legal guardian clearly identified in Wills. Trusts are one of the most versatile legal documents and can effectuate wishes from beyond the grave, including planning for minor beneficiaries, tax-saving provisions, and helping blended families protect everyone’s best interests. 

Our attorneys each bring a unique skillset and passion for the field of trusts and estates, and we will ensure that you are paired with the appropriate attorney throughout the drafting process. 

We also offer probate and trust administration services and are supported by paralegals and legal assistants. Our team brings dozens of years of experience and understands what clients are going through during this stressful period. 

Estate planning is important, but it does not need to be difficult. We pride ourselves in breaking down the legalese so our clients feel comfortable that their wishes are honored.

From Our Team

“My goal is to guide clients through the process to not only make sure their estate plan best suits their individual needs, but also that they understand and are comfortable with the entire process and finalized legal documents”

– Amanda Plant, Partner

Related Practices

Wills & Trusts

A Will and a Trust are the fundamental pillars of an estate plan. A Will allows an individual to prepare for the administration of their estate, including naming a fiduciary (typically called an Executor or Personal Representative) to handle matters like paying final debts and taxes and managing the distribution of assets. Most importantly for parents, it is within the Will that they name a guardian who would be responsible for the physical care and wellbeing of their minor children. A Will may also include funeral arrangements which can range from cremation to a Viking funeral at sea. A Will may work with a Trust or as a standalone document.

A Trust is a versatile tool for an estate plan that offers more flexibility than a simple Will and provides substantial freedom from administrative burdens and privacy from court oversight. A Trust is instrumental in a number of circumstances, often seen in planning for minor or young beneficiaries where assets will be managed by a Trustee (selected by the client) for such beneficiary’s benefit until they reach a certain age (i.e. 25) or a certain event takes place (i.e. graduation from college). There are also residential trusts, marital trusts, special needs trusts, and trusts used for asset protection and tax planning. 

Our attorneys are well versed in discussing these documents and how they should be drafted to meet an individual client’s needs. There is no “one size fits all” in estate planning, and we pride ourselves on making sure that a client’s wishes are effectively honored and expressed.

Probate & Estate Administration

Our growing probate practice extends across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Recently, we were ranked among the Best Probate Lawyers in Alexandria by Expertise.com. While each jurisdiction in which we practice has its own rules and guidelines, our attorneys are skilled at navigating the different processes. We understand that handling the administration of a family member or friend’s estate can be emotionally taxing and our team is here to reduce administrative burdens for our client. 

We assist clients serving as Personal Representative of the estate in all aspects of the administration, guiding our clients through the probate appointment, court filings, and subsequent deadlines. We work closely with accountants and financial advisors on any estate tax issues as well as with realtors if and when there is real estate that needs to be sold, and can assist out-of-state executors with ancillary probate of local real estate. In Virginia, we walk executors and administrators through preparing the estate inventory and with successive account filings with the Commissioner of Accounts.

Our attorneys are experienced with administering all types of estates – those with wills, no wills, insolvent to multi-million-dollar estates. Especially in instances where there is no estate planning in place, it can be difficult for one to know where to even begin and we are here to walk clients through step-by-step.  

If you are an heir and/or beneficiary of an estate and need assistance understanding the process, we can ensure your interests are properly protected. Every estate is unique, and you need an attorney who is compassionate, organized, and dedicated to making sure your needs are met through what can be a very difficult and overwhelming time.

Business Succession

When making plans for your assets upon your death or incapacitation, an important question to consider is: “What will happen to your business?” Our attorneys can assist you in making sure the necessary designations are made for a seamless transition to occur in the event you can no longer manage your business. This can mean appointing someone to take over the day-to-day operations or specify where or to whom your interest in the business will be paid out. If probate avoidance is a consideration, the proper assignments can be made as part of your business documents to ensure that is also accomplished. Our attorneys will work with you in creating new documents or updating your existing documents to ensure your business is taken care of as part of your estate plan.

Advance Medical Directives

An Advance Medical Directive (which can also be known as a Living Will, Healthcare Proxy, or Medical Power of Attorney) gives an Agent the ability to make health care decisions on your behalf upon your incapacity. The presumption is that you have the ability to make medical decisions on your own, but if there is an event – whether an accident or early onset of a cognitive disease – the Agent you select in your Advance Medical Directive can work with your health care team to preserve your autonomy. 

We tailor the Advance Medical Directive to each client’s wishes with respect to end-of-life care and treatment. Without an Advance Medical Directive, your family must petition a court to be appointed as your guardian to make certain medical decisions and such decisions may not reflect your wishes.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney gives an Agent the ability to assist you with legal and financial matters during your lifetime. While acting, the Agent owes you a duty of responsibility to make decisions that are in your best interest. The powers can either be given to the Agent immediately, which is often seen with spouses or partners, or the powers can be triggered by a specific event- such as incapacity. 

Without a Power of Attorney, your family may be required to petition the court to gain the ability to make these decisions by being appointed as your guardian or conservator.

Guardian/Conservator

When an adult is not able to act on their own behalf or to protect their own interests, the court may appoint a guardian to act on that person’s behalf, or a conservator to manage that person’s finances. This can help protect a person who may otherwise not be able to care for themself, or who might otherwise be financially exploited. 

A guardianship or conservatorship is a major step, and the person may lose rights such as the right to vote, the right to drive, and even the right to marry. A formal guardianship or conservatorship is not appropriate in every situation, and in some cases, can be avoided by planning. In some situations, however, it may be necessary to provide the best care for an elderly invalid or for a child with developmental disabilities about to age into adulthood.

Our attorneys can work with you to determine your options and help you move forward in the way that works best for your family. We can explore less restrictive alternatives than a full guardianship or conservatorship when appropriate; help navigate the practicalities of the appointment process with the court, and may be able to help you connect with other professionals to plan for a future that respects the dignity of the person under the guardianship or conservatorship.  

Guardianships and conservatorships may be used as part of a larger plan for young adults with disabilities, along with Special Needs Trusts, which we can create, as well as specialized financial planning, transition planning, and other services, which providers we can work with collaboratively to create a holistic plan to make sure your loved one is taken care of.

Trust Administration

We assist clients serving as Trustee of a trust by providing legal counsel through the full administration process. We work closely with accountants on tax issues, financial advisors on investment strategies, and realtors if and when there is real estate that needs to be sold.

Our attorneys guide clients from the onset of trust administration – applying for a tax identification number, notifying beneficiaries, and interpreting trust terms – through the final distribution and receipt and release of their responsibilities as Trustee.

Updating Existing Estate Plans

Estate documents are drafted to allow for many future events, but they still need to be reviewed and updated from time to time. As your family changes and your assets grow or decrease, it is important to remember that your estate documents may need to be adjusted to fit your current lifestyle and beneficiaries. 

Additionally, laws change, tax thresholds rise and fall, and novel assets, such as digital assets and cryptocurrency, alter the traditional definition of what is considered an “asset”. All of these elements may shift the best plan for your circumstances—or at least be worth a discussion with your attorney.

Our attorneys are experienced reviewing previous documents, counseling individuals through life changes and updates in the law, and recommending revisions that are tailored to your current stage of life. We also work with many clients who have moved into the DMV area and now want a local attorney to review and recommend potential changes to documents that they had created out of state. 

Our goal is to have a long-term relationship with each of our clients. We are proud that many who come to us for an initial estate plan continue to work with our team on modifications to their documents throughout the years.

We worked with The Geller Law Group to update our wills and other estate documents. They were knowledgeable and professional and gave us great advice on state requirements and processes. They were very timely in preparing documents. We would definitely use them again.

– T B.

My husband and I worked with the Gellar Law Group for all our estate planning documents (wills, trust, medical directives etc). We are so happy that we found this law group to work with. The entire team was very professional and responsive throughout the process. My husband and I kept putting off starting this process, but once we started working with the Gellar Law Group they made everything easy to understand and we felt completely supported as we worked on the various documents. We highly recommend the Gellar Law Group!

– Shere F

My wife and I recently used The Geller Law Group for assistance as we prepared our Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney, and property forms. They made, what was for us a complicated process, understandable and easy to deal with. Their patience with us was notable, as was their quick response time when we had questions. We could not have asked for this to be handled more professionally.It is always a pleasure to work with people who know what they are doing, something that’s not always a given in today’s world. Thanks again, and keep up the (very) good work.

– max hall

Responsive, upfront, prompt, and thorough. Very patient when it came to explaining the wills and trust process for us. We had been putting this process off, and Rebecca and Amanda made it absolutely painless for us. Very grateful.

– Lauren Kelly

Geller’s attorneys made it easy for us to update our wills and set up a trust. The process was tailored to our needs and gave us great peace of mind.

– Susan Price

After having our first child, my wife and I were looking to get wills/trusts established in case of emergency, but had no idea where to start. The Geller Law group was extremely helpful in walking us through what documents made the most sense for us to create for this season of our lives.

– Dan Iten

We are so glad we hired the Geller Law Group for our estate planning! They made the wills/trusts process so easy.It’s uncomfortable to think about awful possibilities, but the wonderful GLG team got us through it. We feel confident and secure, knowing we are thoroughly prepared for the unexpected. We can’t recommend the firm enough!

– Jenn Rafael

Fantastic, first-rate firm. Women owned and operated, tremendous work-life balance but absolute and intense dedication to their clients. They’re doing both pre-nup and wills and trusts for us and they’re making a hugely complex (well, to me anyway) endeavor easy to understand and actually enjoyable.

– Howard Wahlberg

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The information contained in this website is provided to users for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor is the transmission or receipt of such information intended to create an attorney-client relationship between any Geller Law Group member and the user. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each client and case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of retained legal counsel. Your continued use of this website constitutes your acceptance of this disclaimer and acknowledgement that under no circumstances shall The Geller Law Group be liable for any direct, indirect, special, consequential or any other damages arising out of or in any way connected with use of this website.

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The information contained in this website is provided to users for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor is the transmission or receipt of such information intended to create an attorney-client relationship between any Geller Law Group member and the user. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each client and case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of retained legal counsel. Your continued use of this website constitutes your acceptance of this disclaimer and acknowledgement that under no circumstances shall The Geller Law Group be liable for any direct, indirect, special, consequential or any other damages arising out of or in any way connected with use of this website.