District of Columbia Probate and Estate Tax Laws

The probate and estate tax laws associated with the death of a loved one usually creates an additional strain during an already stressful situation. Obtaining a basic understanding of probate laws and procedures allows those experiencing this loss to see through the often-convoluted clouds that surround death. District of Columbia probate and estate laws outline what interested parties need to do to enter probate and how much in taxes they may have to pay once inheritance passes. This is a quick summary of the probate and estate tax laws in the District of Columbia.

Understanding District of Columbia Probate and Estate Tax Laws

When dealing with probate and estate tax laws, it is important to understand both the federal and District laws that govern the process. The following table outlines the specifics of District of Columbia probate and estate tax laws.

Code Sections

District of Columbia Official Code Title 20: Probate and Administration of Decedents' Estates

District of Columbia Official Code §47-37: Inheritance and Estate Taxes

Probate Hearing and Notice

District of Columbia probate laws state that a will is ineffective to transfer property unless it is admitted to probate. A petition for probate must be filed by an interested person to the estate.

In the District of Columbia there are two types of probate proceedings: abbreviated and standard. An abbreviated probate proceeding is a proceeding for the probate of a will or a determination of a decedent's intestacy and for the appointment of a personal representative. This proceeding may be conducted without the prior notice to the interested persons.

A standard probate proceeding is a proceeding for the probate of a will or a determination of the decedent's intestacy, particularly when execution of a will cannot be presumed for an abbreviated proceeding. This proceeding is conducted after notice to interested parties.

District of Columbia Estate Taxes

Under District of Columbia estate tax laws, a taxable estate holds the same meaning as defined in section 2501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, except that for the purpose of calculating District estate taxes, a taxable estate must recognize a domestic partner as a spouse.

Federal Estate Taxes

According to the IRS, estate tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of your possessions and certain interests at the date of death. Several federal tax matters affect the estate of persons who die in the District of Columbia. Some of the most common federal tax matters are:

  • Paying federal estate income taxes
  • Paying federal estate taxes

Visit the IRS frequently asked questions on estate taxes to learn more.

Fully understanding the complicated probate and estate tax laws is not easy and may require assistance. If you need to plan out your estate and would like help from a legal professional, you can contact a District of Columbia estate planning lawyer through FindLaw. Visit FindLaw's sections on estate tax laws and estate planning for more articles and information on this topic.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.