If you are considering estate planning in Maryland or are dealing with the Maryland probate process, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. There are lots of forms that must be signed, assets to value, documents to file, and much more. With the help of an experienced Maryland probate attorney, navigating this process is a bit more manageable. However, there may be lots of questions still coming to mind on a daily basis. Read on for some frequently asked questions about Maryland wills and estates law and Blackford & Flohr’s answers.
Does Maryland Have an Inheritance Tax?
Inheritance tax is the tax imposed on property that passes from a deceased person to their beneficiaries through their will. In Maryland, the inheritance tax is 10% of the “clear value” of the inherited property. It is collected by the Register of Wills located in the county where the decedent lived or owned property. To learn more about the Office of the Register of Wills in Maryland, click here.
Does Maryland Have an Estate Tax?
Estate tax rates in Maryland are graduated. They are applicable to estates worth more than $5 million. This means that your executor will need to make sure takes are paid to the state before distributing assets to your beneficiaries. You can use the Maryland Estate Tax Rates chart found here to determine your tax obligation.
Is There an Estate Tax Exemption in Maryland?
There is an estate tax exemption in Maryland for estates valued at less than $5 million. This is as of 2021. This means that if you pass away and your estate is worth under $5 million, your beneficiaries will receive your assets without owing a tax to the state.
How Much Does a Will Cost in Maryland?
Total costs for drafting your will in Maryland will vary depending on your wills and estates lawyer. It is important to work with an experienced Maryland probate attorney in order to ensure your will is properly written and filed. It is virtually impossible to know when you and your beneficiaries will need your will, so making sure it is fully drafted and covers all of your assets and loved ones at all times is critical.
Can You Avoid Probate in Maryland?
Probate can sometimes be avoided. In Maryland, you can create a living trust with your attorney while making your estate plans. You can include any asset you own in this. Create a trust document that names someone who will become trustee after your passing. You then must transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee. From this point, your assets will be controlled by the trust, and your successor trustee will be able to transfer it to the trust beneficiaries without probate court after your death.
There are a few other options if you are determined to avoid probate for your beneficiaries. You can consider filing joint tenancy forms if you share assets with another person so that these assets automatically pass to them. You can also add a “payable-on-death” (POD) designation on your bank accounts that names a beneficiary who can claim the money if you die without probate. Consult with your Maryland wills and estates lawyer to learn all of your options.
How Much Does an Executor Get Paid in Maryland?
In Maryland, executor fees are regulated. Compensation should not exceed 9% if the estate is valued at less than $20,000 and $1,800 plus 3.6% of the excess over $20,000.
How Long Is Probate in Maryland?
The length of the probate process can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, from size of the estate to valuation of individual assets. In general, Maryland estate administration takes about one year, including marshalling, valuing, and distributing assets. Creditors have six months from the date of the decedent’s death to make claims.
What Happens if There is No Will?
In Maryland, when a person passes away without a will, a personal representative will distribute assets and property according to Maryland intestacy law.
How To Set Up an Estate in Maryland
If you are ready to set up your Maryland estate, the first step is to identify and contact the best estate lawyers in Maryland. An experienced attorney can guide you through the complicated process and ensure all paperwork is properly filled out and filed. It is important to draft a strong will with an attorney so that your assets and possessions are left to the beneficiaries of your choice.
Contact a Wills and Estates Lawyer in Maryland Today
If you are interested in writing your will or are in need of legal council for probate in Maryland, contact Blackford & Flohr today. We can help you with all of your Maryland wills and estates questions. Call 410-647-6677 to speak with an attorney today.