Dedicated Probate Lawyer Assisting Montgomery County Residents
In the state of Maryland, probate is dependent upon the value of the estate. Both regular estate and small estates require the appointment of a personal representative. Small estates have a very simple probate process. Regular estates may be able to use modified administration (with the consent of all heirs), which is also a simplified process, where assets are passing to heirs such as a spouse, children, parents and siblings.
Determining the Value of the Estate
In the state of Maryland, the value of an estate is determined by the fair market value of all of the decedent’s probate property minus all outstanding debts. It’s important to remember that regular estates must proceed through the probate process in the Maryland Orphan’s Court.
Petitioning for Probate
A petition for probate must be filed with either the Register of Wills or with the correct Orphan’s Court. After a personal representative for the estate is appointed — typically a loved one (i.e. spouse or child) or someone named specifically in the will — the Register of Wills or Orphan’s Court will grant the representative letters of administration. This document allows the personal representative to administer the estate’s assets.
Establishing an Inventory
Establishing an inventory of all the property the decedent owned, either individually or with someone else, is one of the personal representative’s most important tasks. Fair market value will be assigned to each item in the inventory.
Inheritance and Estate Tax
The state of Maryland collects an inheritance tax when recipients inherit property from someone who lived and/or owned property within state lines. Certain relatives and charities are exempt from Maryland’s inheritance tax, while other inheritors pay the tax at a fixed rate. Exempted parties include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings. This is a different tax than the estate tax which applies to all individual Maryland estates in excess of $4 million this year and increases each year by a million until it is the same as the Federal estate tax exemption in 2019 (which will be $5 million).
Probate Is Complicated and Time-Consuming
As you can see, Maryland’s probate process if often tedious and exceedingly complex. With more than three decades’ experience handling probate matters for Silver Spring and Montgomery County families, attorney Carol R. Schifter knows what it takes to help you and those you love most obtain the outcome you desire. Take advantage of our *free 30-minute consultation now.