A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

*ALERT* Marriage Equality in Maryland Update

Friday, December 7th, 2012

On January 1, 2013, the definition of marriage in Maryland will be expanded to include same-sex couples. The Comptroller of Maryland’s office has confirmed that all surviving spouses will be exempt from inheritance tax, regardless of the spouses’ respective genders. However, the change in the definition of marriage will not affect the state income or estate tax rules, which define marriage according to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). As a result, estate tax will apply to a bequest to a same-sex spouse, even though inheritance tax will not.

Tax changes to the Code will only happen if the Maryland legislature chooses to act. As the law now reads, same-sex married couples will be taxed on their income as if they are unmarried individuals. They cannot file a joint tax return, health care premiums paid by one spouse are considered income to the other spouse, and any unequal payment of living expenses might even be considered a gift to the spouse who contributes less money. However, the ability to file as individuals means that the spouses do not have to worry about the “Marriage Penalty” where more tax is due as a married couple than as individual filers.

This year, Supreme Court granted certiorari in Windsor v. United States, a case regarding the constitutionality of DOMA. If the Court agrees with the Second Circuit in Windsor that DOMA is unconstitutional, all married couples would be subject to the same income, gift and estate tax rules.

If it is decided that DOMA is constitutional, the Maryland legislature would have to act to correct the inequality in the state law regarding married couples. Any changes at the state level would not affect Federal tax returns, and same-sex married spouses cold potentially have to fill out a mock joint Federal return to determine their income tax responsibilities under system that treats all marriages the same. The couple would have to file separate Federal income tax returns.

With regard to income, estate and gift taxes, the law does not treat all married couples equally. Frankel Sims Law will continue to monitor developments in this area at the state and federal level.

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims

410-828-7775

Contact: Frank Campbell

410-263-1667

Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.