What is the Spousal Elective Share?

September 20, 2019

The spousal elective share law was enacted to prevent aspouse from being disinherited by the other spouse. It grants the survivingspouse the right to elect to take a percentage of the deceased spouse’s estateeven if the will does not name that spouse as a beneficiary.

In Maryland, the spousal election extends beyond theprobate estate to include some non-probate assets, referred to as the“augmented estate”. This is to prevent the spouse from using estate planningtools to circumvent probate that would negate the purpose behind theprotections afforded under the spousal elective share.

Currently in Maryland ifthere are surviving children, the spouse may elect to take 1/3 of the deceasedspouse’s net estate.  If there are no children, the surviving spouse mayelect to take ½ of the net estate.

A spouse may waive the right to an elective share in aprenuptial agreement or separation agreement.

These are matters that should be discussed with an attorney experienced in Elder Law and probate matters. Contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area for more information.

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