For more than 35 years we have focused exclusively on the law of estates and trusts. By concentrating in one area, the firm has developed deep experience and knowledge. Within this practice niche, we handle it all:
• Planning. We prepare wills, various types of trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, and other estate planning documents. The documents can be simple, complex and/or focus on tax planning depending on the needs of the client. We explore the unique circumstances of every client and their planning goals and then tailor the documents to address
• Estate and Trust Litigation.
We are not a general litigation firm. We focus on will, trust, and other fiduciary litigation. We regularly appear before Maryland’s orphans’ courts and circuit courts. We
also routinely handle appeals in Maryland’s appellate courts.
• Estate and Trust Administration. We help clients with the process of winding up a decedent’s financial affairs by implementing the individual’s estate plan or in accordance with state law if
the person has no valid planning documents. We prepare all estate and income tax returns in-house so we can offer seamless administration services from beginning to end.
By handling every aspect of our practice area, we create a synergy that strengthens the handling of each matter. Our approach to planning, for example, is strengthened by our estate and trust administration practice. 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 the of the substantive issues that arise in our planning and administration practices.
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 our involvement in all aspects of estates and trusts law, lets us deliver the highest quality of client services. Our approach leverages 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 is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, past chair of the Estate and Trust Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association, and he has taught at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
All three partners have written
articles for law reviews or other legal publications and all three present continuing education courses on estates/trusts topics. These activities give back to our profession and deepen and extend our understanding of the law of estates and trusts.