Verena Meiser

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Estate Planning & Probate Attorney in Fulton, MD

Lewicky, O'Connor, Hunt & Meiser, LLC
8115 Maple Lawn Blvd., Suite 175
Fulton, MD 20759
Phone: 410-489-1996
Fax: 443-283-4056
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2022
Licensed Since: 2007
Practice Areas: Estate Planning & Probate (60%), Elder Law (30%), Military/Veterans Law (10%)
Languages Spoken: English, German, Spanish
  • Virtual Appointments
Attorney Profile

Attorney Verena Meiser is a partner with the Lewicky, O'Connor, Hunt & Meiser law firm in Fulton, Maryland. A top-rated attorney with more than 17 years of legal experience, Ms. Meiser serves individuals and families throughout the greater Baltimore metro region and surrounding areas who have legal needs involving any of the following:

· Estate planning and asset protection

· Social Security Disability and special needs planning

· Elder law

· Veterans Affairs planning

· Estate administration

· Trusts and trust administration

· Trustee support

Ms. Meiser holds Veterans Administration accreditation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as advanced certification in civil mediation. With these credentials, she is able to better address the needs of her veteran clients, and she can assist with resolving any estate-related disputes that may arise effectively and without the need for court intervention.

No matter her clients' needs, Ms. Meiser always provides highly personalized support and counsel, and she has earned a reputation for devising flexible yet comprehensive estate plans and trusts that are tailored to her clients' unique circumstances and goals. Recognized for her professionalism and service, she has earned many accolades from her peers along with numerous positive reviews and referrals from her satisfied clients, including the Clients' Choice award from Avvo.

A 1983 graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Ms. Meiser earned her Master of Science in applied mathematics from Claremont Graduate University in 1985 and her Master of Science in computer science from Vanderbilt University in 1988. In 2002, she obtained her Juris Doctor from University of Tennessee College of Law, and she is admitted to practice in Maryland as well as California.

Widely regarded as a leader in her field, Ms. Meiser has published several articles and conducted lectures and seminars across her region on a variety of estate planning topics. She is also an active member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the Howard County Estate Planning Council, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils and the American Bar Association's Section on Real Property, Trust and Estate Law.

Devoted to those less fortunate in her community, Ms. Meiser volunteers her time and services with Maryland Volunteer Legal Service. She also serves on the board of directors of Maple Lawn Farms Condominiums and is a former board member of FIRN, Inc., which assists immigrants and refugees seeking a new life in America.

Practice Areas
  • 60%Estate Planning & Probate
  • 30%Elder Law
  • 10%Military/Veterans Law
Focus Areas

Estate Planning, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate & Estate Administration, Trusts, Wills, Veteran's Benefits

Selections

3 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2022

White Papers

  • Healthcare Decisionmaking (2018) - A look at the current state of healthcare decisionmaking in Maryland
  • Making Charitable Donations Abroad (2017) - Various strategies for making charitable donations abroad and get an income tax deduction at home.
  • The Advantages of Having a Separate Retirement Plan Trust (2019) - Large retirement accounts may be safely planned for with the use of a separate retirement plan trust.

About Verena Meiser

Admitted: 2007, Tennessee

Professional Webpage: https://lohmlaw.com/team/verena-meiser/

Newsletters

  • The passage of the SECURE Act left many wondering if their estate planning documents need to beupdated. Generally, we do not need to revise your trusts to comply with SECURE. It is important to understandthat trust rules did not change. If you included conduit trusts for your beneficiaries, they will still workas intended, as conduit trusts. If you included a see-through accumulation trusts, they will also still workas intended, as accumulation trusts. The 10-Year Rule Basics The problem introduced by SECURE is that the stretch-IRA and the income tax benefits of distributionsover the life expectancy of the beneficiary are mostly gone and replaced by a requirement that theentire IRA will have to be paid out within 10 years of your death. There are five situations where the 10-year rule does not apply; (1) when the plan has no designated beneficiary and the plan participant diesafter the required beginning date for distributions, since the plan continues to pay over the remaininglife expectancy of the deceased plan participant, and (2-5) there are four categories of beneficiaries whoare still eligible to withdraw their inherited interest in the form of minimum required distributions overtheir expected lifetime. The eligible groups of beneficiaries are (i) minor children through majority (seediscussion below), (ii) chronically ill or disabled beneficiaries, (iii) persons not more than 10 yearsyounger than the plan participant, and (iv) spouses named as sole beneficiaries of a trust. Spousesnamed directly as beneficiaries can still roll their interest over. For a conduit trust beneficiary, who does not fall within one of the 4 eligible categories, the 10-year rulemeans the beneficiary’s entire share of the inherited IRA has to be distributed to the beneficiary within10 years. Since the 10 year period will include months of 11 tax years, the income tax impact ofdistributions can be spread over 11 tax years. The rate at which distributions are taken is up to thetrustee of the trust. For accumulation trust beneficiaries, who does not fall within one of the four eligible categories, thatmeans the distributions have to be made to their trusts by the end of the 10 years, over 11 tax years,and the trustee decides at what rate to withdraw. We see that the SECURE Act changed the income tax reward of a life-expectancy based payout. Children and the 10-Year Rule A minor child beneficiary falls within one of the exceptions to the 10-year rule and the child’s lifeexpectancy will be used to calculate payouts until the child “attains majority”. At that time, the payoutsswitch to the 10-year rule. There is a lot of confusion about what “majority” means. Until we get clearguidance from the Treasury, the assumption is that it means age 26, as long as the child is a student.Thus, your child’s share of your IRA will be fully distributed to your child by age 36. Note that this rule only applies to your minor child. It does not apply to other minors, such as nieces,nephews, or grandchildren. Also note that for a disabled child, life expectancy payouts continue as longas the disability lasts. If the thought of your child having control over their entire share of your IRA by age 36 is a concern, youcould remove the conduit trust provisions for your child’s trust and convert it to an accumulation trust.Additional updates to your revocable trust could allow your Trust Protector to convert a conduit trust toan accumulation trust at the time of your death, if circumstances should have changed for your child bythen. An adult child will receive the payout from the IRA within 10 years of the participant’s death. A conduittrust for an adult child could be replaced with an accumulation trust, if you wish to keep thedistributions in the child’s legacy trust for asset protection purposes and income taxation at the trust’sincome tax bracket is not a concern. Recall that trusts have compressed marginal tax brackets. Currently, a trust pays 37% for income above $12,700. If your child is a high earner, the distributionswould be taxed at 37% whether they would be distributed outright to your child or kept in the trust. Insuch cases, the benefits of asset protection may weigh in favor of replacing a conduit trust with anaccumulation trust., How the SECURE Act impacts your plan for your retirement accounts. It is a good time to review., Estate Planning, Estate Administration & Trust Administration
  • Survey of the history and current state of healthcare decision-making, The Movement to Improve End-of-Life Healthcare Planning, Financial Advisers, Accountants, Insurance Advisers

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Maple Lawn Farms Condominiums Board of Directors – since 2011
  • Annual participation in Maryland's "Law Day"; serving the low income elderly., 2014
  • Board of Directors of FIRN, Inc., a non-profit organization serving the immigrant population, 2007
  • Present Volunteer Attorney, Maryland Volunteer Legal Services (MVLS), 2018

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Maryland
  • Present Member, NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys), 2018
  • Present Member, Academy of Special Needs Planners, 2019
  • Present Member, National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, 2018
  • Present Member, Howard County Estate Planning Council, 2014
  • Present Member, ABA (American Bar Association); Section on Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, 2002
  • Present Member, Wealth Counsel, 2014
  • Admitted to State Bar of California, 2018
  • Member, Central Maryland Chamber of Commerce, 2019
  • Present Member, Maryland Bar Association, 2007

Educational Background

  • Bryn Mawr College, B.A., Mathematics
  • Claremont University, M.Sc., Applied Mathematics
  • Vanderbilt University, M.Sc., Computer Science

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Advanced Certification in Civil Mediation, 2003
  • Present VA Accredited Attorney, 2018

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Passed the July 2018 California Bar Exam and Admittance to the State Bar of California, 2018

Representative Clients

  • Estate Tax and Asset Protection Planning for Families and Business Owners.  Families with loved ones with special needs.  Retirees.  Veterans. Young Parents. Business Succession Planning for Business Owners.  Support to Individuals serving as Trustees., 2019

Videos

  • Why set up a trust to handle a charitable donation rather than make a direct gift to a charity? The main reason is that the Grantor, the person setting up the trust, gets income tax, estate and gift tax benefits, while also allowing for the property to be invested in the trust for some period time before the trust terminates and everything is given to charity. While the trust is in existence, that Grantor or the Grantor’s family could benefit by getting distributions from the trust., Charitable Remainder Trusts: Why set up a trust to handle a charitable donation?, 2021
  • ABLE accounts are for individuals whose disability began before age 26; and the disability meets the Social Security Administration’s criteria for a disabling condition, which means it significantly limits the child’s ability to function. Each person can only have one ABLE account, and there’s an annual contribution limit as well as a lifetime contribution limit. In addition, the child can deposit earnings into the account. It is important to monitor the account balance, because any amount over $100,000 counts towards the child’s resource allowance for means-based benefits, such as SSI, Medicaid, and State Waivers, such as Home and Community Based Options Waiver, Maryland Community Pathways, Maryland Health Choice and others. What does that mean? Since the child can only have $2,000 of resources to qualify for these benefits, if the ABLE account balance goes above $102,000 SSI payments would stop, until the balance drops below that level again. There are two kinds of special needs trusts, first party SNTs, which can hold the beneficiary’s own assets, and third party SNTs, which can hold assets that parents, grandparents or anyone else contributes to the trust. While a person can only have one ABLE account with a lifetime contribution limit, there are no limits for the number of trusts of either kind and no limits for how much these trusts can hold.  First party special needs trusts, would be set up, if the beneficiary has more than $2,000 of resources, and there is an interest in applying for SSI and other government benefits. The beneficiary must have a disabling condition and be younger than 65 when the trust is established. When the child dies, the State may claim a payback, however, in this case, the payback would be for all services provided during the child’s life. A third-party SNT can be set up by anyone at any time. The biggest difference here is that there is No payback when the child dies. Parents typically use these trusts to provide for management of the child’s care for life. An experienced estate planning or elder law attorney would be able to advise parents on the design of such a trust, so that it becomes a solid, customized support structure for the child. Now, let’s get back to our original question: should you set up an ABLE account or a special needs trust? Generally, an ABLE account is not a good substitute for a special needs trust. Despite the additional costs of setting up a trust and administering it, these trusts are the parents’ most powerful tool to protect and support their child’s future. ABLE accounts are great additional tools: for example, if the child has a job and the child can save earnings and any unspent SSI benefits, - without violating the $2,000 resource limit. ABLE accounts can also rescue benefits if the child suddenly gets an inheritance. Consider both and seek the advice of an attorney with extensive experience in advising families of children with special needs. Protect your child’s eligibility for benefits and leave behind a solid support structure for your child’s life., Should we set up an ABLE Account or Special Needs Trust or Both?, 2021
  • Did you just become the trustee of a loved one’s trust, or of a trust that holds your own inheritance? Let me give you a quick high-level overview of what to focus on, so you can build yourself a to do checklist., You became the Trustee of a trust. Congratulations! Now what ?, 2021
  • I often get contacted by young parents who wonder if they need a Will. Some were told to get a Will, perhaps by their financial adviser or by members of their family. For many reasons, everyone does their surviving relatives a favor by leaving behind a Will, and young parents in particular!, We Just Became Parents. Do We Need Wills?, 2021
  • This video encourages viewers to share important information for the development of a successful estate plan., Attorney Verena Meiser : How I Work, Financial Advisers, Accountants, Insurance Advisors, 2019
  • This video describes our comprehensive planning approach for the entire lifecycle of an individual with special needs., Attorney Verena Meiser : Special Needs Planning, Special Needs Community, Financial Advisers, Accountants, Insurance Advisers, 2019
  • This video encourages and motivates viewers to engage in estate planning., Attorney Verena Meiser: Introduction, Financial Advisers, Accountants, Insurance Advisers, 2019

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Office Location for Verena Meiser

8115 Maple Lawn Blvd.
Suite 175
Fulton, MD 20759

Phone: 410-489-1996

Fax: 443-283-4056

Last Updated: 7/12/2021

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