- Posted May 1, 2014 by
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Baltimore City Orphans' Court Judges to speak at the Upcoming Estate Planning Seminars
There is a rise in the number of deaths that occur in Baltimore where the decedent has passed away without a will. According to the Baltimore City Orphans' Court which oversee probate matters, it has been estimated that there are probably more than 50% of people that die without a will. In order to address this alarming issue, Baltimore City Orphans’ Court Chief Judge Lewyn Scott Garrett, along with Associate Judges Michele Loewenthal and Stephan W. Fogleman will be speaking at a number of educational seminars on wills and estates being held throughout Baltimore this month for the benefit of senior citizens.
Although the issue of deaths without wills was certainly on the rise, what motivated the Judges to host the free seminars focused toward senior citizens, was the overwhelming number of cases that are heard in their court over disputes from the heirs of the decedent. Many seniors believe they don’t have anything of value so they think they don’t need a will. However if they were to sit down and take actual inventory of their assets they might be surprised.
“One of the most common issues we encounter on the bench is when the decedent did not have a will. It can be a very painful reality for surviving family members that believed their loved one meant to leave something for them but because they didn’t have a will the estate must go through probate. We are holding these seminars to educate people, particularly seniors on how they can prevent that,” said Chief Judge Lewyn Scott Garrett.
The Probate Judges want to take the seminars out to the seniors to let them know the importance of having a will. In the seminars, the Judges will discuss with seniors the benefits of planning an estate and preparing a last will and testament.
About The Judges:
Judge Lewyn Scott Garrett has been serving as a Judge in the Orphans’ Court since November, 1995 and was recently appointed to the position of Chief Judge. At the age of 22, in 1978, Judge Garrett was one of the youngest candidates to ever be sworn in as a full fledged attorney. He earned his B.A. degree and Masters degree in Policy Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland Law School. Judge Garrett has maintained an active law practice for more than 28 years. His knowledge, and skills regarding the law is a great asset to the Orphans’ Court. Judge Garrett taught at the University of Maryland Baltimore County from 1983-1984. He is a Certified Mediator, held the Chairmanship of Maryland Public Interest Research Group in Law School, helped draft the “Just Cause Bill” and the “Baltimore City Circuit Court Consolidation Bill”, litigated cases pro bono for the NAACP, and he is active in many civic and community activities. Judge Garrett is also a Certified Acrobatic Gymnastic Judge, an avid marathon runner, tri-athlete, and holds a fifth degree black belt in martial arts.
Judge Michele Loewenthal was appointed to Associate Judge of the Orphans’ Court in July, 2011. Judge Loewenthal joins the bench with 27 years of experience in the field of guardianship issues, personal injury litigation, mediation and estates and trusts. Having received her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Maryland School of Law, Judge Loewenthal began her career with the Legal Aid Bureau representing financially disadvantaged persons in custody, support, and divorce matters and continues working with families in her solo practice.
Judge Stephan W. Fogleman was appointed an Associate Judge of the Orphans Court in March, 2014. A 1994 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law, Judge Fogleman has engaged in the General Practice of Law for nearly 20 years. Most recently, Judge Fogleman served as Chairman of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners from 2007-2014, where he presided over thousands of hearings for the residents of Baltimore City. Judge Fogleman resides in Canton with his wife and daughter.
About The Court
Baltimore City Orphans’ Court is the city’s probate court and has jurisdiction over judicial probate, administration of estates, and conduct of personal representatives.
While it has a long history of serving Maryland’s citizens since before the beginning of our nation, the Orphans’ Court remains a mystery to most people.
It may be the name that confuses people. “Orphans’ Court” is simply the historical name for a court that handles wills and estates. Its name derives from the old City of London’s Court for Widows and Orphans. Lord Baltimore brought this court system to his colony, and in 1777 the Maryland General Assembly formally established an Orphans’ Court and Register of Wills in each county and the City of Baltimore. That structure still operates today.
Three Orphans’ Court judges sit in the City of Baltimore (Chief Judge Lewyn Scott Garrett, Associate Judge Michele Loewenthal and Associate Judge Stephan W. Fogleman).
For more information on upcoming seminar dates and locations contact the Baltimore City Orphans' Court at 410-396-5036 or visit http://orphanscourtjudges2014.com/calendar/