Maryland Probate and Estate Tax Laws

After a person passes away, a probate court is where his or her financial affairs and property are legally settled. The items owned by the person who has died, or the "decedent," are referred to as the estate. Maryland provides several ways estate administration can be handled, depending on the specific circumstances of the decedent and the amount of his or her assets. Here is a brief summary of probate and estate tax laws in Maryland.

Probate and Estate Tax Statutes in Maryland

Details on the Maryland probate and estate tax laws are outline in the table below. More general information is available in FindLaw’s Maryland Estate Planning Laws section.

Code Sections

Estate Tax: General Tax Articles § 7-301, et seq.

Administrative Probate: Estates and Trusts Articles §5–301, et seq.

Family Allowances: Estates and Trusts Articles §3–201, et seq.

Types of Estate Administration

Regular Estate: property of the decedent subject to administration in Maryland is established to have a value in excess of $50,000 (in excess of $100,000 if spouse is sole heir). For persons dying prior to October 1, 2012, a Regular Estate consists of assets with a gross value in excess of $30,000 (or $50,000 if the sole heir or legatee is the surviving spouse).

Small Estate: property of the decedent subject to administration in Maryland is established to have a value of $50,000 or less ($100,000 or less if the spouse is the sole heir). For persons dying prior to October 1, 2012, the Small Estate limit is $30,000 or less (or $50,000 or less if the sole heir or legatee is the surviving spouse).

Family Allowances

The surviving spouse is entitled to receive an allowance of $10,000 for personal use.

An allowance of $5,000 for the use of each unmarried child of the decedent who has not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the death of the decedent shall be paid by the personal representative as provided in § 13–501 of this article.

What Assets Go Through Probate?

Assets that belong solely to the decedent or are titled only in the decedent’s name.

Decedent’s interest in property that he or she owns with someone else as "tenants in common."

What Assets Skip Probate Entirely?

Property that is titled in the names of two or more persons as "joint owners with right of survivorship."

Property owned by the decedent and the decedent’s spouse as "tenants by the entirety.”

Insurance proceeds.

Pension benefits or annuities (unless the estate or trust created under the will is designated as the beneficiary or there is no designated beneficiary).

Estate Taxes

Maryland estate taxes are based on the federal estate tax law, § 2011 of the Internal Revenue Code, and is generally only applicable in cases where the value of the assets exceeds $1,000,000.

What Other Taxes Must be Paid?

10 percent inheritance tax if the recipient is a niece or nephew, a more distant relative or a non-relative (except for charities).

Maryland Probate and Estate Tax Laws: Related Resources

Probate matters in Maryland can be complicated. If you would like legal assistance with a probate or estate tax matter, you can contact a Maryland probate and estate administration attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's sections on Probate Basics and Estate Tax Laws for more articles and resources on this topic.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.