Maryland Inheritance Tax

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 What Is Maryland's Inheritance Tax?

Maryland has a very gracious inheritance tax policy. Close family members and charities are excused, while everyone else is taxed at 10%.

Close family members will not need to pay an inheritance tax. Maryland defines close family members as:

  • Spouses
  • Parents and grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Kids and grandchildren
  • Spouses of kids
  • Adopted kids and stepchildren

What Are Death Taxes?

Death taxes refers to the different taxes which the government levies on a significant transfer of property or money upon the death of a person. Other titles are also commonly known as death taxes, such as succession taxes or estate taxes.

The state and federal laws that govern estate taxes continuously undergo amendments and revisions. Fortunately, however, most estates are not big enough for the death taxes to apply and be imposed on the estate.

One distinct type of death tax is called an inheritance tax. People who acquire assets or property from an estate after an individual passes away must pay this type of tax.

Typically, federal regulations do not cover inheritance taxes, contrasting with estate laws. Rather, inheritance tax laws are governed by the states and differ according to the state in which the estate holder passed away and the state in which their will documents were created and executed.

Estate taxes are a much more comprehensive category of taxes than inheritance taxes and may cover situations and circumstances outside and a transfer to a beneficiary. The federal government may only tax an individual’s estate if the gross value of their estate surpasses the lifetime exclusion.

It is also critical to note that federal estate tax laws provide a marital deduction. According to this deduction, the decedent’s estate may pass to their surviving spouse tax-free.
That property, however, then becomes part of the estate of the surviving spouse. This means that the estate’s value that exists when the second spouse passes away may be subject to federal or state taxation.

Are There Any Non-Familial Exemptions?

The non-familial exemptions are:

  • Any non-profits registered with the State of Maryland
  • Inheritance of less than $1,000
  • The returns of a life insurance policy
  • The deceased’s primary residence

The last exemption is where the estate is small. If the estate is worth less than $30,000, no inheritance tax is charged by Maryland.

Gifts Made Before Death

Gifts made two years before death are gifts made in consideration of death. These gifts will be taxed.

Tax Payments

Tax is 10 percent of the precise value of the estate, which is the gross value minus any expenses. The executor or administrator of the estate must file an inventory with the probate court to see what the deceased owned. The county register typically notifies the executor or administrator of the estate. If the executor or administrator does not pay, the inheritors will be liable. Taxes must be paid before the distribution of the estate.

If the inheritors are broke and cannot pay the inheritance taxes, then the inheritors may set up a payment program with the State.

What Is an Executor?

The executor of an estate is a person named in the will of a deceased individual (known as the testator) as the representative of that deceased individual’s estate. Executors have distinct responsibilities and obligations to administer and manage the estate. They help make sure that debts are paid and that the estate’s property is distributed according to the testator’s wishes.

The estate’s executor is tasked with ensuring that the testator’s intent and interest are protected and carried out according to the terms outlined in the will. Usually, the executor named in the will is a parent, child, or another relative of the testator, although sometimes, the testator may choose to designate a close friend.

What Does an Executor Do?

The primary duties of the executor are to make sure that any debts or creditors that the testator had in life are paid off and that the remaining funds and property of the estate are allocated to the individuals who are inheriting according to the terms that are outlined in the will.

Depending on the core of the estate, the duties of the executor may involve several specific duties, including:

  • Finding and contacting the people who are supposed to inherit under the will: The executor is typically the contact person for the estate and is in charge of making sure the property named in the will goes to all the proper individuals;
  • Make sure the will is filed in the appropriate probate court;
  • Setting up a bank account for the estate: Since the executor is directed to manage and protect its assets, it is smart to keep the estate’s funds separate from the executor’s funds. Setting up a different bank account in the name of the estate can make it easier to pay taxes and creditors;
  • Continuing necessary payments: Some periodic payments, like insurance or mortgage payments, will need to keep being made during the estate administration. Having a bank account in the name of the estate can help significantly with making sure these payments remain up to date;
  • Paying final income taxes: Believe it or not, you still have to pay income taxes after you die (at least one last time.) The executor of the estate is accountable for making sure that the testator’s income taxes for the last year of their life are paid in full.

If a person dies without a will, the property must be dispersed based on the state’s laws of intestate succession. These estates don’t have executors; the individual who takes care of the process in cases of intestate succession is usually called an administrator.

Who Can Be an Executor?

An executor does not necessarily have to be a legal or financial professional. Some states may have detailed requirements or prohibitions for executors (such as having reached the age of adulthood). Nevertheless, the individual drafting the will has complete autonomy in deciding who will be the estate’s executor. In most circumstances, unless there is an obvious indication that the suggested executor is mentally incompetent or presents a clear danger to the estate, deference is given to the individual named in the will.

Choosing a competent and trustworthy individual as your executor will help make the probate process smoother, ensure that your final wishes are carried out correctly, and help stop any additional problems or hindrances on your heirs. While the executor is not required to be a beneficiary under the will, many individuals consider selecting one of the beneficiaries as the executor as a practical choice.

Does an Executor Get Paid?

Most executors appointed to the role under a will execute the duties out of respect for the testator’s final wishes and do not wish to be paid for their assistance. Yet, the executor does have a right to be paid for performing their tasks.

Each state has specific regulations regarding the payment of executors, often based on specific elements like the estate’s value and what the probate court determines as the reasonable value of the executor’s services and time.

Consulting an Attorney

Please consult a Maryland estate lawyer if you are perplexed about the probate process or if there is a contested will. Additionally, an estate attorney well versed in estate taxes can help you save funds.

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