When a loved one passes away, it can be a difficult and stressful time. In addition to dealing with the emotional aftermath, there are also legal and financial issues that need to be addressed. One of the most important aspects of the probate process is appraising the decedent’s assets. In Maryland, there are specific rules about what needs to be appraised, and it’s important to work with an experienced probate attorney who can help you navigate this process.
Maryland Estate Law Defined
Maryland estate law refers to the set of laws and regulations that govern the transfer of property and assets after a person passes away. The primary purpose of Maryland estate law is to ensure that the decedent’s assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes, and that any outstanding debts and taxes are paid. Maryland estate law covers a wide range of issues, including the probate process, estate taxes, trusts, wills, and other related matters. It is important to work with an experienced probate attorney who can help you navigate Maryland estate law and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the probate process.
The following are examples of things that must be appraised during Maryland probate.
Real property refers to land and any structures on it, such as a house or a commercial building. In Maryland, real property must be appraised as part of the probate process. The appraiser will consider factors such as the property’s location, size, condition, and any improvements that have been made to it. The appraiser will also take into account any liens or encumbrances on the property. Examples of real property include:
- Residential real estate, such as a house or condo
- Commercial real estate, such as a rental property or office building
- Vacant land or lots
- Timeshares or other vacation properties
- Agricultural property, such as a farm or ranch
- Mineral rights or natural resource interests, such as oil or gas
- Waterfront property or properties with a water view
- Properties with historic or architectural significance
- Properties with environmental or zoning issues, such as wetlands or conservation easements.
Personal property refers to any property that is not real property. This can include things like furniture, jewelry, art, and vehicles. In Maryland, personal property that has a value of $500 or more must be appraised as part of the probate process. The appraiser will consider factors such as the item’s age, condition, and market value.
Examples of personal property that may need to be appraised as part of the probate process in Maryland include:
- Jewelry, including precious metals and gemstones
- Artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and other decorative items
- Antiques, including furniture, clothing, and other items that are considered to have significant historical or cultural value
- Collectibles, including coins, stamps, and other items that are collected for their rarity or value
- Musical instruments, including pianos, guitars, and other instruments that have a significant value
- Vehicles, including cars, boats, and other motorized vehicles that have a significant value
- Household items, including appliances, electronics, and other items that may have a significant value
- Firearms, including antique or collectible firearms that have a significant value
If the decedent owned an interest in a business, that interest must be appraised as part of the probate process. The appraiser will consider factors such as the business’s financial statements, its assets and liabilities, and any goodwill or intangible assets that it may have.
Business interests that may need to be appraised in Maryland include:
- Shares of stock in a publicly traded company
- Ownership interest in a closely held corporation
- Partnership interests in a general or limited partnership
- Membership interests in a limited liability company (LLC)
- Business assets, such as equipment, inventory, and real estate
- Goodwill or intangible assets, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights
Investment assets, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, must also be appraised as part of the probate process. The appraiser will consider factors such as the market value of the asset and any dividends or interest that it may generate. Examples of investment assets include:
- Stocks and bonds
- Mutual funds
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
- Options and futures contracts
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
- 401(k) plans and other employer-sponsored retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Artwork and collectibles held as investments
Work with Blackford & Flohr for the Best Maryland Probate Attorney Services
Appraising assets as part of the probate process can be a complex and challenging task. That’s why it’s important to have the right legal team on your side.
If you’re dealing with probate in Maryland, don’t handle it on your own. Let our expert Maryland probate lawyers help you achieve the most favorable outcome. Contact Blackford & Flohr today to schedule your consultation.