An important, life-changing election will occur in the state of Maryland during autumn 2020. Here’s a hint: it’s not the presidential race. It’s Maryland’s new elective share law. No longer limited to a fractional share of the net probate estate, a surviving spouse who decides to reject what was given to him under the decedent’s existing estate plan will then receive his elective share out of the deceased spouse’s augmented estate. The Department of Legislative Services notes that the election from an augmented estate addresses the potential disinheritance of a surviving spouse while taking into account non-probate assets passing to the spouse, so as not to allow a spouse to receive more than a “fair share.” See Department of Legislative Services, Maryland General Assembly, 2019 Session, Fiscal and Policy Note, H.B. 99, page 10. The new law applies to the estate of a decedent who dies on or after October 1, 2020. H.B. 99, Section 2, Ch. 35, Acts 2019.
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