Are You an Unmarried Couple Living in Maryland – Read This
A new law for domestic partners in Maryland came into effect on October 1, 2023. A “domestic partner” is age 18 or over; a sole domestic partner for another; not married; and in a committed relationship with the other. This is a significant change that affects inheritance tax and benefits if there is no Will if one of the partners dies. For people who are the beneficiary of the estate of a person to which they are not related, there is a Maryland inheritance tax of 10%. So, let’s say when you got together with your partner 20 years ago he/she owned a house and the title was never changed but he/she did have a Will leaving the house to you and at death it’s worth $500,000. You would get the house but it would come with a tax bill for $50,000. The same is true for other property. But now, if you register as a domestic partner you can avoid the tax.
The details can be found in a publication found at Registered Domestic Partnerships (maryland.gov)
With registration as required by the law, you also get the benefit of being treated as a spouse so that if your partner didn’t have a Will, you would still be entitled to a significant portion of the estate. Of course, the better choice is for each of you to have Wills, Financial Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives in place.