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Maryland Estate Planning: Assets and Property That Avoid Probate by Operation of Law

With or without a Will, certain assets will pass outside the Will and probate by operation of law. Property that passes outside the Will generally avoids probate and can save administrative fees. However, the property value may still be included by the government in calculating your estate value for the purpose of estate tax. For married couples near or over the state ($1,000,000 in Maryland) and federal ($5,250,000) tax exemption limits, it is critical that you have an estate plan that properly accounts for property passing outside of probate so that both spouses take full advantage of their individual lifetime exemptions and thus eliminate or minimize the estate tax.

The following assets generally pass outside of probate, though there are several exceptions and the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney is useful in determining whether a particular asset will pass outside of probate in Maryland.

* Real Property Owned as Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

* Real Property Owned as Tenancy by the Entirety

* Bank Accounts in Maryland (“payable at death” or “in trust for”)

* Life Insurance

* Qualified Retire Plan Assets

To discuss these and other estate planning matters, contact Maryland estate planning attorney Stephen J. Reichert at 410-299-4959, or by clicking here.

Consultations are free and confidential. Day, evening and weekend appointments are available in office or at your residence. Serving clients in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Carroll County, Harford County, Frederick County and Montgomery County.