Stephen R. Elville

Top rated Elder Law attorney in Columbia, Maryland

Elville and Associates, P.C.
Stephen R. Elville
Elville and Associates, P.C.

Practice Areas: Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate, Tax; view more

Licensed in Maryland since: 2001

Education: University of Baltimore School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2015, 2017 - 2024
Free Consultation

Elville and Associates, P.C.

7100 Columbia Gateway Drive
Suite 190
Columbia, MD 21046 Visit website


As Managing Principal and Lead Attorney at Elville and Associates, Stephen R. Elville represents clients in Columbia, Maryland, and the surrounding Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas. His legal practice is focused on matters of estate planning, special needs planning, elder law, estate administration, elder law, asset protection, and tax planning. 

Mr. Elville is admitted to practice in the state of Maryland, and before the United States Tax Court and the Maryland Court of Appeals. He attended the University of Baltimore and graduated summa cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts, then moved on to the University of Baltimore School of Law. There he graduated cum laude with his Juris Doctor and cum laude with his Master of Laws.

A member of the American Bar Association, Mr. Elville is also actively involved with the Maryland State Bar Association. With pride in the attentive service he offers, he works with families and individuals to offer solutions to complex problems that many families deal with every day. With a personalized, unique approach, he has worked with families in crisis many times and is a level headed when emotions are running high, working to offer peace of mind to clients through his calm, warm demeanor, always offering clients a path forward when meeting with them.

His practice areas also extend to the following: IRS tax controversy, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Income, nursing home selection, guardianships, fiduciary representation, Medicaid planning and qualification, advance medical directives and powers of attorney. Mr. Elville has an Avvo “Superb” rating and is a member of the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

Elville and Associates' mission is to provide practical solutions to its clients’ needs through counseling, education, and superior legal-technical knowledge.  The firm's focus on education is reflected in many ways; namely:

-- Through its planning processes with our clients.
-- Through over 100 educational webinars and workshops in the communities it serves each year.
-- By way of its accredited Client Care Program – only one of two firms in Maryland to have a "CCP" accredited by the Client Care Academy in Boston.

The firm also works with the ideals of client education, collaboration, and compassion in mind with every client, every time.  

Practice areas

Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate, Tax: Consumer

Focus areas

Estate Planning, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate & Estate Administration, Tax Law, Trusts, Wills

  • 40% Elder Law
  • 40% Estate Planning & Probate
  • 20% Tax: Consumer

First Admitted: 2001, Maryland

Professional Webpage:

Firm News (Newsletters):
  • Issue 15 of Elville and Associates semiannual newsletter, The Elville Benefactor, Issue 15
  • a comprehensive newsletter written, edited and designed by the attorneys and staff at Elville and Associates, The Elville Benefactor, Issue 18
  • a comprehensive newsletter written, edited and designed fully in house by the attorneys and staff at Elville and Associates, The Elville Benefactor, Issue 17
  • a comprehensive newsletter written, edited and designed fully in house by the attorneys and staff at Elville and Associates, The Elville Benefactor, Issue 16
  • written, edited and designed fully in house, 2021 Spring Edition of Elville and Associates' Winter Newsletter - The Elville Benefactor
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2021 Winter Edition of Elville and Associates Newsletter - The Elville Benefactor
  • By: Stephen R. Elville, J.D, LL.M., Principal and Lead Attorney – Elville and Associates, P.C. OK, it’s time to “get real” as we used to say in the seventies. A wonderful financial advisor friend of mine, a Certified Financial Planner actually, once said to me over dinner, “Steve, you do a stellar job of educating clients and their families about estate planning, elder law, and special needs planning, but what about organization?” The dinner had been going extremely well up to that point, and I had just reached for another shrimp cocktail when he dropped this verbal bomb. Unbeknownst to him, I temporarily froze, and my mind went blank like a computer screen that has just lost power. Feeling the need to keep my composure and continue impressing my friend with my knowledge and intellectual prowess, I quickly realized that I had no good answer. After stumbling around a bit, I mumbled something about estate planning binders, thumb drives, and rooms full of file cabinets. He smiled gently and calmly said something I will never forget: “What good is education without organization?” To this day, based on my experiences with thousands of clients, I believe he was absolutely right. Organization is one of the key elements of estate planning, Estate Planning -- What Good Is Education Without Organization/, Clients, General Public, Financial Advisors
  • By: Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M. – President and Principal Attorney of Elville and Associates, P.C. On March 7, 2020 at our recent Client Care Program continuing legal education event at Anne Arundel Community College, I stated that the SECURE Act, and the income tax ramifications it has for most of our clients (mainly, the acceleration of income tax to beneficiaries of inherited IRAs), is arguably the most important tax and asset protection issue clients have been presented with in the past 10 years. Before we go any further, amidst all the confusion there are, in my view, basically two main issues (or questions) clients and their families need to address. They are: (I) determine whether any changes need to be made to your estate planning documents (in consultation with your estate planning attorney); and (II) determine whether you wish to (or should) address the income tax and other impacts of the SECURE Act on your retirement plan assets, your non-exempt beneficiaries, and your estate plan as a whole, including the acceleration of income tax to your beneficiaries, loss of tax deferral to your beneficiaries, and potential loss of asset protection to your beneficiaries (in consultation with your financial advisor, CPA, and estate planning attorney). If you can focus on these two main overarching issues (questions), I believe you can determine what to do about the new SECURE Act law (if anything) from an estate planning and income tax planning perspective, and act accordingly with minimal confusion or anxiety. In the paragraphs below, I will try to help make sense of the SECURE Act, including what it is, who it affects, and who is exempt. After all of this is summarily explained, I will recommend certain SECURE action steps for estate planning, tax planning, and financial planning, and then I leave you with some questions that only you will be able to answer, about SECURE and whether it represents anything positive despite its negative implications for many people, Understanding the New SECURE Act -- Incoming!, Clients, General Public, Financial Advisors
  • You are searching for a client care program (whether you know it or not). Yes, you are. Whether you are consciously aware of this or not is the purpose of this article. You do want your estate plan – your Last Will and Testament; or your will substitute, your Revocable Living Trust, to work as you intend it to. You want the terms and provisions of those documents – your documents – to accurately reflect your current thinking and address the current circumstances of your life and the lives of your family members; you want your estate plan to be updated in accordance with the latest changes in the laws, including the tax laws; and you want your financial assets – non-retirement assets such as cash in checking, savings, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, real estate, tangible personal property, intangible personal property, business interests such as ownership in corporations or limited liability companies; beneficiary designated assets such as life insurance, annuities, payable on death accounts, transferable on death accounts; and retirement-type assets (also beneficiary designated) IRAs and qualified plans such as 401(k)s, Thrift Savings Plans, 403(b)s, and 457 plans – to either be intentionally controlled by the terms and provisions of your will or trust; or to intentionally not be controlled by those terms and provisions and instead flow in certain other directions – all intentionally. This intentionalism I will call it is the essence of what real estate planning is all about. Everything else concerning the subject of estate planning fades into insignificance by comparison. If you are not extremely intentional in your estate planning (and this includes elder-related planning, special needs planning, and business planning), your planning will possibly collapse. Since we know that no rational person wants his or her estate plan to risk failure, let’s first remove any doubt that an estate plan can easily fail. Estate plans can collapse or fail for many reasons, but most of us do not consider just how easy it is for this to happen. Before we review several examples, let’s define what estate plan collapse is by first considering what estate planning is. This is challenging because each person’s estate planning goals are different and therefore each person’s definition of estate planning can be different. But for our general purposes here, one general definition of estate planning might be this: estate planning is the process of disposing of my assets, to the persons or organizations of my choice, at the lowest possible cost. Notice with special emphasis the word process. Others might define estate planning as one or more of the following: ensuring that assets never go to my spouse’s potential new spouse; or protecting against the new spousal elective share law; or making sure estate, gift, inheritance, and income taxes are minimized or eliminated; or protecting retirement plan asset shares and minimizing the impact of the new SECURE Act; protecting the shares of beneficiaries from the claims of creditors; planning successfully for a child or loved one with special needs; planning for a spouse with dementia; ensuring the care, safety, and well-being of parents or grandchildren; and many more. With these ideas in mind and with the knowledge that each individual will have their own definition of what estate planning is and what it means to them, let us define what estate planning carelessness is, as including but not limited to the following examples: lack of a partnership-type relationship with your estate planning attorney; estate planning equals a one-time transaction; lack of a defined process; focus of estate planning is on “documents”; no follow-up or on-going maintenance of the estate plan; no financial advisory or tax professional team; no collaboration of the advisory team; no consideration of changes in the laws; no client legal education; no consideration of unforeseen contingencies; incorrect or non-existent beneficiary designations; no proper asset alignment; lack of understanding of effects of beneficiary designating non-retirement assets; poor selection of fiduciaries; no education of fiduciaries; poor organization (and many more). Having made outlandish assumptions here about what you intuitively want, and having gone to great lengths to show that estate planning must be carefully and consistently orchestrated in order to ultimately be successful, as is further illustrated in my upcoming book, let us now get to the main thrust of this article – how to be intentional in your estate planning. More specifically, how to practice intentionalism in your estate planning, The Philosophy of a Client Care Program -- Intentionalism
  • At present there are few things more important than containing and stopping the spread of COVID-19, taking care of those who are infected, supporting doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, and hospitals, providing vital masks, ventilators, protective and other equipment that is urgently needed, and sympathizing and supporting those who have lost loved ones (in Maryland, in the U.S., and around the world). Elville and Associates urges Marylanders and any persons reading this article to adhere to CDC, national, state, and local pronouncements and policies concerning safety, social distancing, and sheltering in place as absolutely essential to saving lives and minimizing suffering. To say the least, this is a time for unity, community, action, and contemplation. For those persons who are concerned about what they and other family members need to do right now in terms of estate planning, elder care and special needs planning, and incapacity planning in the face of the increasing pandemic, the following are practical steps that may be taken by any person of reasonable intelligence, ability, and access to telephone or electronic media and communications. For clarity, I have outlined these as six-step processes, Practical Guidance for Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Special Needs at a Time of World and National Health Crisis - COVID-19
  • For most aging singles and couples, it is important to become educated about elder law-related matters as a practical necessity. But how does one become educated regarding this all too often mysterious, ambiguous, and esoteric subject matter?, An Elder Law Consultation -- A Way to Seek Guidance and Become Empowered
  • firm's semi-annual newsletter -- written, edited, and published fully in house, 2020 Spring Edition of the Elville Benefactor
  • , 2020 Fall Edition of The Elville Benefactor
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2019 Fall Edition of the Elville Benefactor
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2015 Elville and Associates' Spring Newsletter
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2018 Elville and Associates' Winter 2018 Newsletter
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2016 Elville and Associates' Summer Newsletter
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2015 Elville and Associates' Winter Newsletter
  • the semi-annual edition of the firm's newsletter, published, edited and written fully-in house, 2017 Elville and Associates Winter/Spring Newsletter
Educational Background:
  • University of Baltimore, B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), summa cum laude
  • University of Baltimore, LL.M. (Master of Laws), cum laude
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys, Member
  • Maryland Court of Appeals
  • American Bar Association
  • Chair of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section Council of the Maryland Bar, 2018
  • Academy of Special Needs Planners, Member
  • National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), Member
  • Member of Brain Injury Association of Maryland, 2020
  • Howard County Bar Association Estates & Trusts and Elder Law Sections, Past Chair
  • United States Tax Court
  • Maryland State Bar Association Elder Law Section Council, Member
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • (current) Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc. (non-profit) -- Founder and President, 2014
  • Law Day Maryland, Chair, 2015
  • (current) Charitable Gift Planning Advisory Committee for Anne Arundel Medical Center (CGPAC), Member, 2020
  • Coalition of Geriatric Services (COGS), Past President
  • Law Day Maryland, Chair, 2016
  • Law Day Maryland Chair, 2017
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Honored with a Feature Story about the Elville Center for the Creative Arts, Inc., in Super Lawyers Magazine -- the non-profit corporation he formed in 2014 with the mission of improving the quality of life of children of all ages by providing them the opportunity to learn music theory and application, experience cultural events related to the musical and creative arts, and to use music and the promotion of music-related activities to transcend social and economic divisions, 2017
  • The Importance of Updating and Maintaining Your Estate Plan, Updating Your Estate Plan, 2022
  • Elville and Associates’ Managing Principal and Lead Attorney Stephen Elville offers this webinar discussion about the very important topic of how to select a Trustee. Choosing a Trustee is one of the most intensive pieces of the estate planning process, and a choice not to be taken lightly. Ensure you’re educated about all the factors that go into making this important decision. Points of emphasis include: — What is a Trustee and what are their responsibilities? — Types of Trustees and their characteristics – advantages and disadvantages — The perfect Trustee – setting the benchmark for selection — Trustee selection – why is it so important? — Trustee succession and plan design – why so difficult, why so crucial? — Trustee roles in Wills and Trusts — What are some reasons to consider appointing a Corporate Trustee? — Why should you be concerned about “Successor Trustee risk”?, Trustee Selection - How to Choose the Right One for You, 2022
  • he Veterans Asset Protection Trust is a powerful tool for individuals and families who are eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension benefit. Contact Elville and Associates today to learn how the "VAPT" can help you achieve your planning goals and qualify for these valuable benefits. Elville and Associates - Planning for Life, Planning for Legacies., Learn About the Veterans Asset Protection Trust, 2022
  • Many people want to achieve excellence in their estate planning – to establish an estate plan that works as intended – one that will stand the test of time, accomplish personal goals and priorities, provide for the disposition of assets in the desired way to the persons and/or organizations of choice, controlling costs, and setting forth values, ideas, concepts, and aspirations – organized by leading-edge legal-technical concepts that are up to date at the time of death, and guided by highly instructional letters of wishes or memorandums. Yet few people understand the kind of estate planning process necessary for the realization of this ideal, and even fewer people are offered the opportunity to participate in the kind of process necessary to facilitate the same. To say that achieving true excellence in estate planning is akin to successfully sailing around the world alone is not an exaggeration. It takes all of the stuff of legend, including purpose, persistence, patience, and introspection; partnership with your estate planning attorney and an adequate process forward (facilitated by the attorney); maintenance and updating of the estate plan over time; and more. In short, true excellence in estate planning requires being extremely intentional. In this webinar, Stephen R. Elville, Managing Principal and Lead Attorney with Elville and Associates, P.C., will lead a discussion about Intentionalism in estate planning. Topics of discussion will include: Why being intentional in estate planning matters; Understanding the risks in estate planning; Why knowing what you want out of estate planning matters; Avoiding estate plan failure; Maintenance and updating; The importance of Partnership, How to Achieve Perfection for Your Planning - Intentionalism in Estate Planning, 2023
  • Supported Decision Making (SDM) involves persons with disabilities being able to make their own decisions to whatever extent they can, provided that they have enough support to do so. Now law in Maryland, Supported Decision Making represents a huge breakthrough for living with disabilities, as it does not take away their rights of self-determination; rather, it allows them to appoint a supported decision maker, even if they are under guardianship. However, this dramatic paradigm shift brings with it the element of risk, potential confusion for parents and others, and unanswered questions. In this webinar, Elville and Associates’ Managing Principal and Lead Attorney Stephen Elville will explore the new Supported Decision Making law and its possibilities for loved ones with disabilities. This webinar focuses on the new promise of SDM for persons with disabilities and the current status of this alternative to guardianship and potential guardianship supplement, and how SDM has the potential to affect and change so many lives, including those of family members and other supporters. Learning objectives include: Understanding Supported Decision Making under the new law, what it is, what is its purpose, and what is its current status? What is its promise in Maryland? What are the problems? What Supported Decision Making is not. What is Supported Decision Making’s relationship to powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and guardianship? How Supported Decision Making works, how it can benefit loved ones with disabilities, and its current status in Maryland., Supported Decision Making for Loved Ones with Disabilities - Breaking Through 2.0, 2023
  • History and evolution of irrevocable trusts in Medicaid planning Introduction and General Concepts Federal and State Law Grantor Trust Rules Medicaid Asset Protection Trust - Overview Nuts and Bolts – Trust Design Operational Mechanics and Nuances Administration During Grantor’s Lifetime and at Death Examples, Questions, and Answers, Pre Need Planning – Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts – Drafting and Implementation, Attorneys - In Conjunction With The Maryland State Bar Association, 2023
  • Many critical mistakes can occur when planning for a loved one with special needs, along with the perils that exist for persons with disabilities when no planning is implemented for them. Bill Hufnell, Founder and Principal at Bay Point Wealth, and Stephen R. Elville, Managing Principal and Lead Attorney of Elville and Associates, discuss the biggest mistakes in special needs planning, what the ramifications are, and how to overcome and avoid them., 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs, 2023
  • A Welcome Video to Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab employees and their families, A Welcome Video to Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Employees, Engineering, 2022
  • An introduction to Elville and Associates' Client Care Program.  As one of only two firms in Maryland to have a Client Care Program accredited by the Client Care Academy in Boston, the firm's "CCP" encourages clients to maintain and update their plans over time with a program that includes a robust set of benefits for members and their families.  , Elville and Associates' Client Care Program , 2022
  • An Introductory Video to Elville and Associates, Elville and Associates' Introductory Video, 2022
  • This video encourages individuals and families to start the year off right by beginning or updating their estate planning with Elville and Associates - a firm that believes in client education and a process that will ensure planning works as intended throughout life and at administration., Get Your Estate Planning Started in 2022!, 2022
  • As a leader in special needs planning, Steve Elville and Elville and Associates have been blessed to work with hundreds of families and their loved ones with disabilities over the years.  Through client education, collaboration, and compassion, we offer a path forward, create solutions for our clients, and time for them to think as we structure a plan to help improve their loved one's quality of life both now and into the future., Elville and Associates' Special Needs Planning, 2022
  • Mr. Elville presents at approximately 75+ venues and webinars each year, ranging from quarterly Client Care Program continuing legal education events, special needs planning presentations at schools and symposiums, estate planning essentials workshops at various venues, quarterly estate and trust administration and trustee selection workshops, six continuing education Advisors' Forums each year for CFPs, CPAs and other professionals, and many, many more. Some of his presentations are available on the firm's YouTube Page, which can be found at the link above, Elville and Associates' YouTube page, Clients, General Public, Financial Advisors, 2021
  • named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers, 2022
  • named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, 2018
  • , named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers, 2021
  • named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers, 2020
  • named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, 2017
  • Recipient of the Mark Geraci Tax Scholarship Award, 2001
  • named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, 2019
  • named to the Maryland Super Lawyers list, 2015
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

Office location for Stephen R. Elville

7100 Columbia Gateway Drive
Suite 190
Columbia, MD 21046

Phone: 443-610-0440


9 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2015, 2017 - 2024

Articles about Stephen R. Elville by Super Lawyers

The Music Man

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