• Deposit Accounts
  • August 10, 2017 | Authors: Christia A. Pritts; Lawrence D. Coppel; Andrew D. Bulgin; Marjorie A. Corwin; Peter B. Rosenwald; D. Robert Enten; David S. Musgrave; Robert A. Gaumont; Christopher R. Rahl; Bryan M. Mull; Chastity E.C. Threadcraft
  • Law Firm: Gordon Feinblatt LLC - Baltimore Office
  • Small Claim Action Appeals from District Court – Non-attorney Representation
    SB500 (Chapter 544)
    (effective October 1, 2017)

    Under current Maryland law, non-attorney representatives of business entities may appear on the entity’s behalf in small claims actions ($5,000 or less) in the District Court of Maryland and that activity is not deemed the unauthorized practice of law. This Act expands the authority and allows a non-attorney representative to participate in an appeal of a small claim ($5,000 or less) from the District Court of Maryland.

    Practice Point: Many financial institutions take advantage of the exemption from the unauthorized practice of law for small claims, particularly in connection with answering writs of garnishment for property other than wages. This will allow a non-attorney representative of the financial institution to participate in an appeal even though that appeal will be in Circuit Court.

    Maryland Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program – Account Clarifications
    HB448 / SB344 (Chapters 132 and 133)
    (effective July 1, 2017)

    Federal law enacted in 2014 allows states to establish a savings program under which contributions may be made to a tax-advantaged Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account that can be used to pay qualified disability expenses of a designated beneficiary. Funds in the ABLE account, up to a specified threshold, do not count toward asset tests for eligibility for Supplementary Security Income, Medicaid, and other federal means-tested benefits. These Acts specify that contributions made during each calendar year may not exceed the maximum amount determined by the Maryland 529 Board to be in accordance with applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

    Practice Point: While ABLE accounts are for savings purposes, they are not normal savings accounts. It is recommended that branch personnel be trained appropriately to respond to customer inquiries about ABLE accounts.