Alex Tanouye Speaks on The Elective Share at MSBA Annual Meeting

During the Maryland State Bar Association Annual Meeting last week, Partner Alex Tanouye spoke on efforts to reform Maryland’s antiquated elective share laws, which are intended to protect surviving spouses from disinheritance (or impoverishment). Presently, the surviving spouse of a Maryland decedent may elect to take a one-third or one-half “elective share” of the decedent-spouse’s probate estate in lieu of any benefit under the decedent-spouse’s will. Many estate plans now utilize revocable trusts and other non-probate asset transfers, e.g., life insurance and retirement accounts, which are generally excluded from the surviving spouse’s elective share. For various reasons, legislative efforts to modernize Maryland’s elective share laws have failed.  Alex was among three panelists who presented their perspectives on elective share legislation reform to attendees at the state bar’s annual conference in Ocean City, Maryland.