Kerri’s Experience and Training in Trust and Estates

Trusts and estates has been an area that I was very interested studying the area law school. In my first three few years practicing, however, I worked on an estate that could have really been simplified had the decedent had a comprehensive and coordinated estate plan. In this particular instance, the client used several different attorneys to create separate pieces of his estate plan, which resulted in an overall plan that was fractured and inefficient. The poor planning resulted in family disagreements, paying additional taxes, and a lot of attorneys’ fees that could have been avoided and simplified had one attorney aided in creating a coherent plan. Therefore, because of what I saw could happen as a result of poorly planned estates, I am motivated to help clients so that we can create a plan that is efficient, that the client understands, and that is comprehensive.

Experience with Trusts and Estates

I have been practicing in the estates and trust field for over eight years. During that time I have worked on hundreds of cases, and seen a myriad of family dynamics.

I started this practice doing estate administration. The idea behind learning administration first  is that you can identify some of the pitfalls of different estate plans that you would only be able to identify through the administration process. For example, a client may leave his or her house outright to his or her children. However, what if the children do not want the house? What if the house is the only assets of the estate and there are no liquid assets to pay expenses or taxes?

These are just a few of the simple questions that I help a client think through. Administration also helped me to learn and understand family dynamics. It helped me to understand the grieving process and how that can affect the timing or challenges of the administration of the estate.

I apply my experience with estate administration when I working with a client on their estate planning. What I learned helped me to become an efficient planner, so I can best advise clients of those potential pitfalls I so often saw. My clients and I can then work together to come up with a solution that both meets the clients’ wishes and is as efficient and practical as possible.

Trainings and Courses

In law school, I took all of the courses that dealt with estates and trust, estate planning, and estate administration. After law school, I took several estate planning courses offered by the Maryland Bar Association. I also frequently participate in the Montgomery County Bar Association estate and trust luncheons, which are very educational. I have participated in the educational estates and trust section luncheons of the District of Columbia Bar Association. To keep up on the law, I have taken several Continuing Legal Education courses (CLEs) on guardianships, specifically on how to properly represent clients in guardianships. I have also taken CLEs on fiduciary litigation in order to be aware of problems that can arise during litigation and, as a result, be able to draft around them.