Steven A. Widdes

Top rated estate planning & probate attorney in Rockville, Maryland

Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC
Steven A. Widdes
Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC

Practice Areas: Estate planning & probate, Estate & trust litigation, Business & corporate

Licensed in Maryland since: 1982

Education: Drake University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2023

Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC

1101 Wootton Pkwy
Suite 700
Rockville, MD 20852 Phone: 301-838-3227 Email: Steven A. Widdes Visit website


With over 40 years of experience, Steve Widdes is widely recognized for his knowledge and expertise in estate planning, asset protection, estate and trust administration, and tax and business succession planning. Steve prides himself on being a good listener and using the law to help people implement their personal estate planning goals. As chair of the firm’s Estates and Trusts practice group, Steve counsels a wide range of individuals and families, from those with more modest means to those with estates exceeding $100 million. He designs sophisticated estate plans to uniquely address issues faced by clients, whether to minimize estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes or to ensure an appropriate plan is in place to protect the clients’ loved ones.

With an approachable, friendly nature, Steve is committed to working closely with his clients to understand their particular anxieties and concerns with regard to their estate planning objectives. He is keenly focused on helping his clients put together a customized plan to accomplish their wishes in a manner that is sophisticated, tax advantageous and lasting. Steve considers his work as a true collaboration with his clients; one in which he actively strives to streamline the planning process so that each client feels heard, understood and involved in achieving their goals.

Tax, financial, charitable and estate planning groups frequently request Steve to speak on a variety of estate and business succession planning topics. Honored as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and nationally accredited as an estate planner, Steve served for many years on ACTEC’s Asset Protection Committee.

First Admitted: 1976, Washington DC

Professional Webpage:

Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • The Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year 2021 for Trusts and Estates in the Washington DC metro area
  • Best Lawyers (2006-2021)
  • Maryland Super Lawyer (2007-2019); Top 10 Attorneys in Maryland (2017-2018); Top 50 Attorneys in Maryland (2010-2011); Top 100 Attorneys in Maryland (2012-2016)
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer (2007-2018); Top 100 Attorneys in Washington, D.C. (2009-2018)
  • Bethesda magazine; Top Trusts and Estates Attorney (2011)
  • Washingtonian; Top Trust and Estate Lawyer (2002-2019)
  • Legal Times, Leading Lawyer, Trusts and Estates (2004)
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent peer review rating
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property and Probate
  • Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation; Endowment Planning Committee (2011-2015)
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow; Asset Protection Committee
  • District of Columbia Estate Planning Council
  • Estate Planning Council of Suburban Maryland
  • Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Board of Governors (1998-2011); Vice Chair (2009-2011)
  • Jewish Social Service Agency; Planned Giving Committee (2011-2015)
  • Montgomery/Prince George's County Tax Study Group
  • Suburban Hospital; Planned Giving Committee (2002-2012)
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Jewish Social Service Agency, Planned Giving Committee (2011-2012)Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Board of Governors (1998-2011)     Vice Chair (2009-2011) Suburban Hospital, Planned Giving Committee (2002-2012)
Educational Background:
  • Drake University (B.A., with honors), 1973
  • Drake University (J.D.), 1976
  • Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M.,Taxation), 1981
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Estate Planning Tips for Wealthy Clients by Steven A. Widdes Pending a determination of the future of estate tax, married couples with wealth over $11 millionand single individuals with estates over $5.5 million may face a 40 percent federal tax on theirexcess estates. This session will feature techniques to reduce large estates tax burden and passwealth to next generations., Speaker, December Update for Accountants and Financial Planners, 2017
  • Steve Widdes will be presenting “Life and Living Choices:  End of Life Planning & Decision-Making” at B’nai Shalom of Olney Men’s Club following Morning Minyan. This seminar will include guest speakers from a variety of legal and theological perspectives. Additional topics covered during the presentation include decision making, planning ahead, terminal illness, Jewish obligations, community resources, legal directives, guardianship, long term care, insurance, Jewish law and estate planning., Steve Widdes to present “Life and Living Choices: End of Life Planning and Decision-Making”, 2013
  • Steve Widdes and Micah Bonaviri will be featured on Federal News Radio broadcast, For Your Benefit, hosted by Bob Leins. They will discuss retirement plan distribution opportunities to maximize value and minimize income tax. In addition, they will review retirement options (and related rules and guidelines) as well as planning alternatives and penalty avoidance., For Your Benefit features Steve Widdes and Micah Bonaviri, 2013
  • Steve Widdes will be presenting at a Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Course on Estates and Trusts.  His presentation, Asset Protection: Planning for the At-Risk Client from the Estate Planner's Perspective, focuses on implementing successful estate planning strategies., Steve Widdes to present at a Maryland State Bar Association course, 2013
  • Steve Widdes will be participating in Eldercare Series Part One: Understanding the Fundamentals.  This presentation will provide attendees with and overview of the information one needs when caring for an elderly adult. Mr. Widdes will discuss power of attorney, wills, trusts and advance medical directives. Questions similar to the ones listed below will be discussed and answered by the panel. Did you know that a Power of Attorney is no longer valid after a person dies? Do you know what information you need to gather so that your family is prepared if something should happen to you? Do you know how a care manager can help you or your family? Other participants for the program include: Linda Hill, LCSW-C, Associate Director of Aging Network Services Connie Torabian, MarketTrust Director, US Trust Rabbi Adam Raskin, Steve Widdes to present on Understanding the Fundamentals of Eldercare, 2013
  • Steve Widdes will present "Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust" at the Maryland State Bar Association's Basic Estate Planning CLE course.  Other topics that will be covered at the seminar include credit shelter planning, marital deduction planningand lifetime gifts. , Steve Widdes to present “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust”, 2012
  • On November 8, 2012, Steven Widdes will speak at an event sponsored by the Jewish Social Service Agency titled “Caring for Aging Parents: What You Need to Know for Them and You.” Mr. Widdes’ segment of the presentation will focus on key documents that aging parents need to have identified, organized and dispersed for end-of-life decision making. He will also cover related topics, such as medical information, emergency resources and practical tips for elderly care., Steven Widdes to speak at Jewish Social Service Agency seminar, 2012
  • Estate planning requires just that — planning. Whether you are a parent of young children or nearing retirement, end-of-life planning is a vital process to ensure your assets are protected and your wishes are known. This seminar will discuss basic principles of estate planning, as well as recent changes to the law, all of which may affect physicians’ approaches to estate planning. Topics covered will include: State and Federal Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions — Current Levels and Future Directions Special Considerations for Gifting in 2012 Asset Protection — Titling and Related Considerations Retirement Plan Distributions and Beneficiary Designations, Essential Estate Planning for Physicians Seminar, 2012
  • “2013, party over – oops, out of time!” As professionals in the financial services or insurance industry know, as each day passes, opportunities dwindle for Congress to act to preserve the current $5.12 million federal estate and gift tax exemptions.  This has led to months of discussion among such professionals and months of uncertainty for their clients. There are unique, yet time-sensitive, advantages to creating or updating plans before December 31, 2012. This seminar will address the practical, legal and tax considerations of making gifts this year, including: Available gifting opportunities and techniques before 2013, such as Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGTs), Grantor-Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) and Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs); Valuation techniques and discounts associated with year-end gifting; and Possible consequences if the federal government does NOT act to preserve current gift and estate tax exemptions before December 31, 2012., Party Like It's 2012! Taking Advantage of Estate Planning and Tax Benefits before Time Runs Out, 2012
  • Ann Jakabcin and Steve Widdes will present "Practical Estate Planning - Preparing for Incapacity and Death" at the 2012 Elder Law Symposium. This free event, which is titled "Navigating the Elder Care Maze: What You Need to Know about the Legal Issues Facing Older Adults and Their Caregivers," is organized by fellows of the Maryland State Bar Association's Leadership Academy.  The full day symposium covers topics such as when to hire an attorney for an elder law issue, estate planning, cost of care (including Medicare), and preventing fraud and abuse directed at the elderly. In their 55-minute presentation, Ms. Jakabcin and Mr. Widdes will cover the following topics: Key documents necessary for a good estate plan What happens in Maryland if one dies without a Will? What are the primary considerations to having a proper Will prepared? Naming of a Personal Representative (Executor) and a back-up What is the relevance of a Revocable Trust and is it necessary in Maryland? How does a Durable Power of Attorney work and what is the role of the Statutory Power? Explanation of the Advance Medical Directive and the key questions to address Selection of the right agent for Power of Attorney and Directive (as well as alternates) Getting organized to ensure you have left proper information and documentation in the event of a death or disability Key terms and roles of the various fiduciaries, Ann Jakabcin and Steve Widdes to speak at MSBA Elder Law Symposium, 2012
  • Steve Widdes will serve as a panelist at the 2012 Transitions in Care: Perspectives for Clinicians and Caregivers Symposium. The panel, titled “End of Life: Best Practices for This Last Transition,” will be moderated by Dr. James Left. Also serving on the panel are Howard Gleckman; Thomas Smith, MD, FACP; Richard Alcorta, MD, FACEP; and Rabbi James Michaels. This portion of the symposium will include a comprehensive discussion on the issues and perspectives surrounding end of life decisions. An often unrecognized fact is that Care Transitions, particularly multiple and closely spaced ones, signal the approach of the end-of-life. Determining when transitions become intrusive, painful and futile or even in opposition to the wishes of the patient involved is essential to person-centered care. Attention to the needs of the person as death approaches is as paramount in Care Transitions as it is in other clinical areas of care. The role of the clinician, caregivers and others involved is a huge impact for the dying person. This expert panel will discuss the spiritual, medical, emotional and legal perspectives of end-of-life, what many have denoted as the last and ultimate transition., Steve Widdes to serve as panelist at 2012 Transitions in Care Symposium, 2012
  • "Update for Accountants and Financial Planners", Speaker, 2016
  • “Help Your Clients Avoid Unforeseen Consequences: Proactive Legal Considerations for Business Owners,” presented to financial professionals , Speaker, 2016
  • “The New Estate Plan – Throw Out the Baby or Just Use New Bathwater?” Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School's Professional Advisory Continuing Education Seminar Series , Speaker, 2015
  • Interview on Federal News Radio’s “For Your Benefit”, 2015
  • “Sorting Out Trusts: A Primer on Selecting What Trusts to Use in Your Estate Plan,”, 2015
  • “Future Focus,” sponsored by M&T Bank , Speaker, 2015
  • "Developing Leadership and Succession Plans for Your Business,” sponsored by Leadership Montgomery, 2015
  • "The Parental Prenup", Bethesda Magazine, 2016
  • Presented on “Asset Protection” before CPAs and CFPs, 2016
  • Maryland Society of Accounting and Tax Professionals estate planning presentation, 2016
  • Co-present "Making Key Practical Financial and Legal Decisions Before and During Retirement," a seminar offered by the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA), 2016
  • Best States for Retirees presentation on “For Your Benefit” Federal News Radio show, 2016
  • Presented on “Estate Planning Developments” to CPAs and CFPs, 2016
  • The topics covered will include: Estate Planning in the time of the Trump AdministrationEstate Planning for the Non-CitizenEstate and Fiduciary Tax ElectionsShould You Avoid Probate – and How?Contending with Income in Respect of a DecedentChoice of Domicile for Retirement – and Death, Speaker, Comprehensive Overview of Estate Administration, Maryland Society Of Accounting And Tax Professionals, 2017

Office location for Steven A. Widdes

1101 Wootton Pkwy
Suite 700
Rockville, MD 20852


17 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2023

Top lists

Top 100: Maryland Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2023 Top 10: Maryland Super Lawyers: 2017 - 2023 Top 100: Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2013, 2015 - 2023 Top 50: Maryland Super Lawyers: 2011

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