Estates and Trusts

For more than 60 years, Tydings' Estates and Trusts practice has guided family businesses and other closely held entities, as well as executives and professionals, through the myriad of complexities in planning for their futures and the futures of their children and grandchildren.  Many of our clients are members of families we have counseled for more than a half century.

Responsive Personal Service

Estate planning and trust administration require an understanding of, and sensitivity to, clients’ goals.  Tydings' attorneys take pride in being accessible and responsive to all our clients, regardless of the size of their estates or the complexity of their situations.  We offer strategies that reflect strong business acumen and an in-depth knowledge of family law, tax law, and corporate law.  We routinely collaborate with clients’ accountants and financial advisors, often taking on the role of facilitator, to ensure that our clients receive competent and strategic advice at all times.

We work closely with clients in preparing wills, trusts, powers of attorney, agreements, and other documents designed to preserve clients’ successorship wishes for their businesses and dispositive wishes for their loved ones.  We help clients progress toward achieving their goals, even as business and personal circumstances change.

Tax Planning

Tydings is versed in all aspects of tax planning.  Many times, tax planning includes structuring various trusts, such as insurance trusts, charitable trusts, bypass trusts, marital trusts, and the establishment of foundations.  It can also involve creating family limited partnerships and other means of minimizing taxes.  If a client is involved in a tax audit or controversy with the Internal Revenue Service or a local tax authority, Tydings' breadth of experience with these organizations is invaluable.

Full Service Estate and Trust Administration

Our clients are well served not only by our attorneys, but by a staff that is deeply experienced in estate and trust administration.  A team dedicated to this practice area is not only capable and knowledgeable, but also quick to respond to client questions and requests.  We offer our clients a full complement of services, including probate, preparation of estate tax and fiduciary income tax returns, and maintenance of asset accounts.

Estate and Trust Litigation

While administration of an estate typically goes smoothly and without conflict, from time to time disputes result from ineffective drafting, hurt feelings, and seemingly unfair dispositions of property. When that occurs, and litigation results, our attorneys are skilled in navigating through the litigation process to get the best results that we can achieve in a cost-effective manner. Our estate litigation practice includes filing and defending caveats (challenges to wills), modifications of trusts, challenges to joint bank accounts, and disputes involving the interpretation of wills and trusts.

Tydings has successfully represented clients in the following estate disputes:

  • Represented trust beneficiary in dispute with another beneficiary regarding whether to divide or sell the trust property;
  • Litigated cases under new Maryland law permitting modification of irrevocable trusts;
  • Resolved numerous disputes between estate beneficiaries over dispositions in will; and
  • Resolved numerous disputes between family members over dispositions of property by gifts and by creation of joint accounts.

Advising Closely Held Businesses

We have extensive knowledge of many areas of business and all aspects of tax and family law.  We are equipped to coordinate and implement business succession strategies that recognize the goals of the company and the needs of the owners, their families, and key personnel.  With both business and personal lawyers under one roof, we can provide efficient, cohesive guidance without sacrificing the personal attention that has established us as trusted family advisors.

To help closely held businesses with their succession strategies, we offer the following services:

  • Assisting with the sale of businesses;
  • Assisting with mergers;
  • Drafting and reviewing employment agreements, severance agreements, and noncompete agreements; and
  • Covering a full range of issues involving family law matters.

Representative Matters

The many estate matters our attorneys handle regularly include:

  • The use of traditional tax planning vehicles such as bypass trusts and marital trusts;
  • The analysis and establishment of structures such as irrevocable life insurance trusts, family limited partnerships, charitable trusts, personal residence trusts, trusts to receive retirement benefits, and grantor retained annuity trusts;
  • The advantages and disadvantages of fiduciary and individual income, estate tax, gift tax, and charitable planning;
  • Probate matters;
  • Preparation of Federal and Maryland estate tax returns; and
  • Preparation of fiduciary income tax returns.


Tydings' Estates and Trusts practice group is chaired by Brian Balenson, who has been advising clients for more than 20 years regarding their estate planning, tax and probate matters, and business-succession planning strategies.  The practice group also includes a team of skilled attorneys and paralegals capable of providing clients with both competent and cost-efficient service.