Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Maryland

What rights does a recently married husband have of his wife's estate if the will states her daughter gets everything?

Asked on 7/10/19, 12:58 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Cedulie Laumann Arden Law Firm, LLC

Maryland law does not condition a spouse's rights to an estate on the length of the marriage. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement, a spouse usually has the right to "elect against the will" and demand a statutory 1/3 of the estate.

Note that someone's Will only dictates what happens to property titled in the name of the deceased person when they pass. Oftentimes things (real estate, bank accounts, etc.) will transfer outside of the Will.

While the law does not mandate a new will because of a marriage, a newly married couple would be advised to sit down with an estate planning attorney, particularly in a blended family situation where the husband and/or wife have children before the marriage. (Note that in some cases changed circumstances invalidate an old will, such as where someone both marries AND has children after they prepared their old will).

Although not legal advice specific to any particular situation, I hope this general information answers your question. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney to review and/or set up your estate plan.

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Answered on 7/11/19, 7:14 am

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