Westminster, MD asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law and Probate for Maryland

Q: I am the sole beneficiary of an estate. Can I assign my interest in the estate to a non-family member?

This includes real property. The non-family member is not related to me or the deceased. In addition, what are the tax implications?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Yes, it is possible to assign your interest, but it will be treated as a gift from you to the other person. You should be careful not to "disclaim" your inheritance, as that would prevent your ability to direct the inheritance to anyone (the disclaimed inheritance would go to the next legatee/heir as if you had pre-deceased the decedent, either by terms of the will or to the next blood relative in line under intestate succession). The implications of it being a gift are that you must file a gift tax return to the extent that the gift exceeds $15,000. When filing a gift tax return, you have two options: pay the estimated gift tax now, or elect to have the value of the gift be ncluded in your estate after you die, to determine what taxes are due on the value of your estate. Most people elect to pay no tax now. Under federal estate and gift tax law now in effect, your estate may exclude the first approximately $12 million in value from taxation, while Maryland's estate tax is only imposed on estates above $5 million. You should carefully draft any written assignment so as not to result in a disclaimer of the inheritance.

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