Alex S. Tanouye, Partner

Alex S. Tanouye, Partner

Estate Planning

Estate and Trust Litigation

Estate and Trust Administration

Premarital Agreements

T 301.656.8850 Ext. 414

F 301.656.3053

7735 Old Georgetown Road
Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814-6130


B.A., with honors, University of Maryland

J.D., University of Maryland School of Law

Bar Admissions


District of Columbia

Alex Tanouye is a partner concentrating on estate planning, estate and trust litigation and dispute resolution, and estate and trust administration.  He represents individuals in a wide variety of estate planning and related tax matters, including the preparation of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance health care directives.

Within the firm’s Estate Planning and Administration Practice, Alex is the go-to attorney in fiduciary litigation matters, which often involve disputes over will or trust interpretation, property division and distribution, allegations of undue influence, administration fees and expenses, fiduciary duties and compensation, spousal rights or entitlements, tax apportionment, and other issues related to estates and trusts.  Alex’s substantial, hands-on estate and trust administration experience gives him a unique, insider’s perspective on such disputes, and his creative approach to problem solving often enables him to assist clients in resolving conflicts before they escalate into full-blown litigation.  When litigation is unavoidable, Alex collaborates with the firm’s trial attorneys to develop and implement strategies for achieving our clients’ objectives.

Alex also advises personal representatives and trustees in the administration of estates and trusts.  He takes great pride in the efficient, cost-effective manner in which the firm handles estate and trust administration cases, knowing that a decedent’s grieving family and friends want the process completed without undue delay and with minimal disruption to their daily lives.

The opportunity to collaborate with individuals and families of all types is the most rewarding aspect of Alex’s practice.  He truly enjoys working with clients who recognize that estate planning provides the foundation for protecting their loved ones, providing for the orderly transfer of their assets, and for ensuring the responsible use of hard-earned wealth.

Maryland Super Lawyers has been recognized Alex as a “Rising Star” in the areas of estate planning and probate, as well as estate and trust litigation, for the past several years.

Since 2012, Alex has served on the Board of Directors of A Wider Circle, a local nonprofit whose mission is to help children and adults who are challenged by homelessness, poverty, and related health and social issues to lift themselves out of poverty.  He regularly volunteers as a truck driver in A Wider Circle’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. He is also a volunteer assistant coach for his son Otis’s youth wrestling team – B-CC Blue.

A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, Alex graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in Rockville.  He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1994 through 2002 and ultimately attained the rank of Sergeant (E-5) before being honorably discharged.  He received his B.A., with honors, from the University of Maryland, where he was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa and received a Department of Government and Politics Award for Academic Excellence.  He received his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Alex, his wife, Daphne, their sons, Otis and August, and their two rescued dogs (Bessie Smith and Johnny Cash), live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  Alex has been an avid guitarist for almost 30 years and he favors Martin acoustic guitars, Fender Telecasters, and tube amplifiers.  His musical interests include bluegrass, acoustic and electric blues, 60s-era R&B, and other roots-based American music.

Activities and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law:  Vice-Chair, Committee on Non-Tax Issues Affecting the Planning and Administration of Estates and Trusts)
  • Estate Planning Council of Montgomery County, MD (President)
  • A Wider Circle (Board of Directors)


  • Maryland State Bar Association, The Elective Share (June 2017)
  • Maryland State Bar Association, Preparation of Gift Tax Returns (Form 709), and U.S. and Maryland Estate Tax Returns (Forms 706 and MET-1) (June 2017)
  • D.C. Bar’s Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section: Introduction to the Fiduciary Income Tax (February 2017)
  • Maryland State Bar Association’s Estate & Trusts Section, Maryland’s Spousal Elective Share: What’s In, What’s Out, What’s Next? (November 2016)
  • “Highlights from Heckerling 2016,” Montgomery County Bar Association
  • ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, Spousal Elective-Share Entanglements Arising in Multi-Jurisdictional Estates (2017 Spring Symposia)
  • “Review of 2015 Heckerling Institute,” Montgomery County Bar, Estates & Trusts Section, Potomac, MD
  • “The Probate Process from Start to Finish,” National Business Institute, Gaithersburg, MD
  • “Estate Planning for Unusual (and Illegal!) Assets,” District of Columbia Bar, Estate Planning Committee of the Taxation Section, Washington, D.C.


  • Super Lawyers – Rising Stars – Estate Planning & Probate (Maryland, 2013-2016)
  • Super Lawyers – Rising Stars – Estate & Trust Litigation (Maryland, 2016)
  • Washingtonian – Top Estate Attorney among DC Financial Advisers



Blog Posts

November 21, 2016

Update on Maryland’s Spousal Elective Share

Partner Alex Tanouye recently presented to attorneys in the Maryland State Bar Association’s Estate and Gift Tax Study Group. Alex’s presentation – entitled “Maryland’s Spousal Elective Share: What’s In, What’s Out, What’s Next?” – took place in Potomac and was televised via simulcast in Baltimore.

May 11, 2016

The PRINCE Act and “Name and Likeness” Rights: Sword and Shield?

Lawmakers in Minnesota are acting quickly to pass the PRINCE Act, which is intended to protect one’s – specifically, Prince’s – name, voice, and likeness from unauthorized use for a 50-year period after death.  The law is aimed at protecting Prince’s legacy and the right of his estate to control future marketing of and revenues from his music and other artistic media.  This pending Minnesota legislation is discussed here:

Interestingly, the IRS and the Estate of Michael Jackson are in the early stages of high-stakes estate tax litigation, and the IRS appears to be basing its case on the value of Jackson’s “name and likeness” property rights under California law at the time of Jackson’s death in 2009.  This April 2016 article from Billboard… MORE >

February 12, 2016

Enforcing Death Provisions in Premarital and Postmarital Agreements

A premarital agreement is a contract between prospective spouses that defines each spouse’s property rights and obligations in the event of death or dissolution.  A postmarital agreement is a contract between spouses who have no immediate plans to divorce and can do the same things that a premarital agreement can do.  Some agreements require a party to make specific provisions for a surviving spouse, such as a cash bequest, transfer of an asset, such as a home, or a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate.  When a deceased spouse is obligated to make provisions for a surviving spouse, and fails to do so, the surviving spouse must take legal action to enforce the contract.

How Assets Pass to Surviving Spouses at Death

A decedent’s property… MORE >