There were a variety of new laws or amendments to existing laws which will take effect this year that will have an impact on Maryland estate administration. This blog highlights three of the changes that estate Personal Representatives, attorneys, and all residents of Maryland should be aware of.
Keep reading to learn about these new regulations and how they might affect you!
New Maryland Estate Regulations in 2017
- Vehicle Laws—Transfer on Death: Recent legislation (specifically House Bill 492) changes existing Maryland law to allow a vehicle owner to specify one beneficiary to receive his or her automobile upon the death of the vehicle owner. Before this law was passed, there was a prohibition on direct transfers of vehicles upon death and the decedent’s car would generally have to be included as an asset in the probate of his or her estate.
- Share of Intestate Estate for Surviving Spouse: This bill (Senate Bill 73/House Bill 735) increases the intestate share of the surviving spouse under Maryland Code Estates & Trusts Article §3-102 from the first $15,000 plus one-half of the remainder, to the first $40,000 plus one half of the remainder, if there is no surviving minor child. What this means is that if you are married with adult children and you die without a last will and testament in Maryland, your spouse will automatically receive the first $40,000 from your estate, plus one-half of the remaining assets. Your adult children would share the remaining one-half of your estate.
- Health Care Decisions Act—Advance Directives—Disqualified Persons: This bill (Senate Bill 562/House Bill 498) precludes certain individuals from serving as health care agent or surrogate health care decision maker; namely, anyone whom the principal has filed a restraining order against, entered into a separation agreement with, or is the subject of an application for divorce from the principal. This is a particularly important law to consider if you are divorced, are in the midst of a divorce or if you are thinking about divorce. If you believe this situation might apply to you, please contact me or any of the other knowledgeable family law attorneys at Andalman & Flynn.
Unless vetoed by the Governor, these bills will become law and will take effect on October 1, 2017.
Have Questions about Maryland Estate Administration?
We know it can be hard to navigate laws regulating Maryland estate planning and administration on your own. Our experienced probate, estate planning, and estate administration lawyers at Andalman & Flynn are familiar with matters involving wills, powers of attorney, and health care advance directives/living wills in Maryland. Whether you have questions about any of the aforementioned matters, need assistance in locating or accessing important documents to probate or to administer the estate of a decedent, or to address an adult guardianship matter, contact us online today. For a consultation, call (301) 563-6685, or toll-free at 1-888-558-7871.
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