How To Make A Will In Maryland?

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How To Make A Will In Maryland
Facts About Wills

What Is A Will ? A will is a written document directing the disposition of a person’s assets after death. Requirements For A Valid Will

In Maryland, a will must be signed by the person making the will (testator/testatrix) and Attested and signed by two credible witnesses in the presence of the person making the will. (Sample attestation clause: Signed, sealed, published and declared by the abovenamed Testa (tor), (trix), (name), as and for (his/her) Last Will and Testament, in the presence of us, who at (his/her) request, in (his/her) presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.” Why Should You Make A Will ? A will is one of the most important of all legal documents.

It is the legal declaration of a person’s intentions and desires that he directs to be carried out after his death. By making a will you can specify how you want your property distributed after your death; you can name a personal representative who has the responsibility to collect assets, pay bills and distribute your estate according to the terms of your will; you can make charitable bequests; and you can nominate someone in whom you have confidence to be a guardian of your minor children.

Without a will, the intestate laws of the State of Maryland direct the order of priority for those individuals to serve as personal representative of the estate; what heirs are entitled to receive the assets of the estate; and in some instances the Orphans’ Court shall make the appointment of a guardian for your minor children.

  1. Safekeeping Of Your Will Your will may be filed with the Register of Wills for safekeeping for a one-time fee of $5.00.
  2. An original will brought to the Register of Wills’ office for safekeeping should be sealed in an envelope, with your name, address and the last four digits of your social security number clearly legible on the cover.

During your lifetime, the will you deposited in the Register of Wills’ office can only be released to you or a person authorized by you in writing to receive the same. You should always make sure that the person you named as Personal Representative is made aware of the location of your will.

  1. Can A Will Be Changed ? A will can be changed at any time before death if a person is competent.
  2. The changes should not be made by alteration to the existing will but by a document called a “codicil”.
  3. The codicil must be executed with the same formalities as a will.
  4. When Should A Will Be Changed ? A will should be reviewed whenever a significant change in personal or financial circumstances occurs.

For example, a change in marital status warrants a review of the will. The Validity Of A Will Executed In Another State If you have a will prepared outside of Maryland and then move into Maryland, it is valid if it is executed in accordance with the laws of the state in which it was prepared.

  1. However, if you move to another state, check with the Probate Division of your new jurisdiction to determine if your will is valid.
  2. Laws vary in different states.
  3. Wills Are Only Effective When Administering Probate Assets A will must be admitted to probate when a person dies owning property in his or her name alone or as tenants in common.

Tenancy in common property is subject to the will of each of the owners to the extent of that owner’s interest and does not pass automatically to the survivor. Property owned by husband and wife, either jointly or as tenancy by the entirety, or property held by any other persons as joint tenants “with right of survivorship” is not subject to the provisions of the will of the first joint owner to die.

  1. Such joint property passes automatically to the surviving joint owner or owners.
  2. What If There Is No Will ? If there is no will, the intestate laws of the State of Maryland, which are subject to change from time to time, will determine the distribution of probate assets.
  3. Distribution is determined by the relationship of the surviving heirs of the decedent.

If a spouse and minor child/children survive, the spouse receives only one-half of the probate assets and the child/children receive the other one-half. If there are no surviving minor children but other surviving children or parents, the spouse receives the first $40,000.00 plus one-half of the balance of the estate; the remainder passes to the decedent’s children, if any, otherwise to his or her parents.

  • If a spouse but no children or parents survive, the spouse receives the entire probate estate.
  • If children but no spouse survive, the children will receive everything, If no relatives (brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.) survive, the assets will be distributed to the Board of Education in the jurisdiction where the estate was administered.

: Facts About Wills

Do you need a lawyer to make a will MD?

Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Maryland? – No. You can make your own will in Maryland, using Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust, However, you may want to consult a lawyer in some situations. For example, if you think that your will might be contested or if you want to disinherit your spouse, you should talk with an attorney.

How do I get a will done in Maryland?

The following are basic questions and answers. Please see our Publications Section for more detailed information.1. General Information 2. Wills 3. Decedent’s Estates 4. Personal Representatives 1. General Information 1.1. What does the Register of Wills do ? 1.2.

What resources do you have available to assist the public ? 1.3. A relative of mine died recently. Can you let me know when the estate is opened ? 1.4. Are your records available to the general public ? 1.5. What is the format of your records ? 1.6. Are your records available via the Internet ? 1.7. How can I get copies of a Will or other documents filed in an estate ? 1.8.

Can you help transfer a deed for real estate I inherited ? 1.9. Can I get a copy of a death certificate from your office ? 1.10. How can I get a ‘Power of Attorney’ ? 1.11. How can I get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) ? 2. Wills 2.1. Do I need a Will ? 2.2.

  1. How do I make a ‘Living Will’ ? 2.3.
  2. Are Wills public records ? 2.4.
  3. Does the Register of Wills prepare Wills for individuals ? 2.5.
  4. Where should I keep my Will ? 2.6.
  5. Can I file my Will at the Register of Wills Office ? 2.7.
  6. Who can withdraw a living person’s Will if it is filed at the Register of Wills Office ? 2.8.

What constitutes a valid Will in the State of Maryland ? 2.9. Is a holographic (handwritten) Will legal in Maryland ? 2.10. What is the procedure to probate an estate with a Will ? 2.11. How is property distributed if there is no Will ? 3. Decedent’s Estates 3.1.

If the decedent didn’t have any assets does the Will still have to be filed ? 3.2. When does an estate have to be opened ? 3.3. How do I get a ‘Letter of Administration’ ? 3.4. Who is allowed to obtain Letters of Administration ? 3.5. Which type of estate should I file – Regular or Small ? 3.6. Where do I file an estate ? 3.7.

What do I need to file to open an estate ? 3.8. Is probate necessary in a small estate ? 3.9. What if the only property was jointly owned ? 3.10. What if the only asset is real estate ? 3.11. What if the only asset was a motor vehicle ? 3.12. How do I change title to a motor vehicle I inherited ? 3.13.

What are the fees and taxes associated with an estate ? 3.14. Must I file a Maryland Estate Tax return and pay Maryland Estate Tax ? 3.15. Who does one contact about estate taxes ? 3.16. Who distributes the estate’s assets ? 3.17. A deceased person owes me money. How do I file a claim against the estate ? 3.18.

A deceased relative has ‘Unclaimed Property’. How do I claim it ? 4. Personal Representatives 4.1. What are the duties of a personal representative ? 4.2. What should the prospective personal representative bring to qualify ? 4.3. Does the personal representative have to post a surety bond ? 4.4.

Does the personal representative have to be a Maryland resident ? 4.5. What if the personal representative moves to another state after the estate is opened ? 4.6. What if the named personal representative is deceased or does not wish to serve ? 4.7. What if the named personal representative wishes to be removed after being appointed ? 1.1.

What does the Register of Wills do ? The purpose of the Register of Wills and the Orphans’ Court is to offer protection. The office protects: 1) The decedent – that his or her last wishes will be carried out.2) The heirs, legatees, and creditors – that they will receive what they are entitled to.3) The State of Maryland – that the proper taxes and fees will be collected.

  1. Return to Top Return to Topic 1.2.
  2. What resources do you have available to assist the public ? The Publications Section of this website has links to booklets, pamphets, sample guides and informative web sites.
  3. Our FAQ has answers to the most frequently asked questions.
  4. We also provide all the necessary forms on-line in pdf format.

Click Here For Forms Return to Top Return to Topic 1.3. A relative of mine died recently. Can you let me know when the estate is opened ? We do not have the capability to monitor when Wills/estates are filed. You may periodically check our Estate Search to determine if an estate has been opened.

Return to Top Return to Topic 1.4. Are your records available to the general public ? Wills and probate records of deceased individuals are public records and may be reviewed in the office in which they were filed. Wills of living persons, which are held for safekeeping by the Register of Wills, are not public records.

In the State of Maryland you may not review the Will of a living person if it is in the custody of the Register of Wills. Return to Top Return to Topic 1.5. What is the format of your records ? It varies. In some Register of Wills Offices, newer records are stored in digital format and can be viewed on computer terminals while older records are available on either paper (files), microfilm, microfiche or docket books depending on the age and type of record.

Many offices have digitized all of their records. Return to Top Return to Topic 1.6. Are your records available via the Internet ? Basic estate information and the estate docket (list of documents filed) is available for viewing on the Internet using our Estate Search feature. Some jurisdictions will have all of their records available while others will only have records available from 1997 to the present.

Return to Top Return to Topic 1.7. How can I get copies of a Will or other documents filed in an estate ? To order a copy of a Will or other estate document, you can visit the office or speak to someone in the Records Division of the Register’s Office where the estate was filed.

You can also use the Document Request Form available via our Estate Search feature. There is a fee for all copies based on the number of pages and the type of copy required. Return to Top Return to Topic 1.8. Can you help transfer a deed for real estate I inherited ? No. The Register of Wills does not prepare or record deeds.

You should contact your attorney or the Land Records Division of the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where the real estate is located. Return to Top Return to Topic 1.9. Can I get a copy of a death certificate from your office ? No. The Register of Wills does not issue Death Certificates or Birth Certificates. Return to Top Return to Topic 1.10. How can I get a ‘Power of Attorney’ ? The Register of Wills does not have jurisdiction over Powers of Attorney. We suggest you contact your attorney for assistance. Please note that a Power of Attorney ceases upon death. Return to Top Return to Topic 2.1. Do I need a Will ? Return to Top Return to Topic 2.2. How do I make a ‘Living Will’ ? The Register of Wills does not have jurisdiction over Living Wills. However, the Office of the Attorney General has made available a publication (which includes forms) titled “Maryland Advance Directive: Planning For Future Health Care Decisions”.

There is a link to it in our Publications Section, Return to Top Return to Topic 2.3. Are Wills public records ? Wills of living persons, which are held for safekeeping by the Register of Wills, are not public records. In the State of Maryland you may not review the Will of a living person if it is in the custody of the Register of Wills.

Wills and probate records of deceased individuals are public records and may be reviewed in the Register’s Office in which they were filed. Return to Top Return to Topic 2.4. Does the Register of Wills prepare Wills for individuals ? Unfortunately, no.

  1. We are prohibited by law from giving legal advice and, apart from providing assistance with completion of probate forms, we cannot prepare legal documents.
  2. Return to Top Return to Topic 2.5.
  3. Where should I keep my Will ? Where to keep a Will is a personal decision.
  4. We suggest that it be kept in a place where it is safe from theft and damage from fire or water.
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The named personal representative should be given a copy of the Will and/or instructions as to where the original Will is located. Return to Top Return to Topic 2.6. Can I file my Will at the Register of Wills Office ? Yes. Submit the Will to the Register’s Office in your jurisdiction of residence.

The Will must be in a sealed envelope with the following information on the outside of the envelope: Your name; Your address; Your social security number; Date of the Will; The fee is $5.00 for each Will or Codicil filed. Return to Top Return to Topic 2.7. Who can withdraw a living person’s Will if it is filed at the Register of Wills Office ? Only the testator, or someone who has explicit written instructions signed by the testator, can withdraw a Will from safekeeping.

Proper identification is required. For more information please call the Register of Wills Office in the jurisdiction holding the Will. Return to Top Return to Topic 2.8. What constitutes a valid Will in the State of Maryland ? In Maryland, a Will must be in writing, signed by the testator (or by someone else for him/her in his/her presence with his/her permission), and attested and signed by at least two credible witnesses in the presence of the testator.

The testator must be at least 18 years of age and legally competent at the time of signing. For additional information, please refer to our publication “Facts About Wills”, Return to Top Return to Topic 2.9. Is a holographic (handwritten) Will legal in Maryland ? Yes, if it complies with Maryland Law.

Return to Top Return to Topic 2.10. What is the procedure to probate an estate with a Will ? Return to Top Return to Topic 2.11. How is property distributed if there is no Will ? Please refer to Section 10 of our publication “Administering Estates In Maryland” for more information.

  • There is a link to it in our Publications Section,
  • Return to Top Return to Topic 3.1.
  • If the decedent didn’t have any assets does the Will still have to be filed ? Under Maryland Law, the decedent’s Will must be filed in the jurisdiction of domicile.
  • Return to Top Return to Topic 3.2.
  • When does an estate have to be opened ? An estate must be opened if the decedent died owning property of any kind in his/her name alone, or as a tenant in common.

Return to Top Return to Topic 3.3. How do I get a ‘Letter of Administration’ ? To be issued Letters of Administration, it is necessary to open an estate. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.4. Who is allowed to obtain Letters of Administration ? The appointed personal representative and/or the attorney representing the estate.

  1. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.5.
  2. Which type of estate should I file – Regular or Small ? Return to Top Return to Topic 3.6.
  3. Where do I file an estate ? The Register of Wills office in the jurisdiction in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.
  4. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.7.
  5. What do I need to file to open an estate ? Return to Top Return to Topic 3.8.

Is probate necessary in a small estate ? Yes, if the value of the assets exceed the debts. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.9. What if the only property was jointly owned ? If the decedent had property titled jointly with anyone other than the surviving spouse, there may be inheritance tax due.

For more information, contact the Register’s Office in the decedent’s jurisdiction of residence. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.10. What if the only asset is real estate ? Under Maryland Law, there is no difference between real property and personal property. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.11. What if the only asset was a motor vehicle ? If the motor vehicle was in the decedent’s name alone and the net value is under $50,000, a small estate is necessary.

If there is a surviving spouse and the net value is under $100,000 a small estate is necessary. If the net value is over $50,000 and there is no surviving spouse, a regular estate is necessary. Return to Top Return to Topic 3.12. How do I change title to a motor vehicle I inherited ? Return to Top Return to Topic 3.13.

What are the fees and taxes associated with an estate ? There is a fee for the certified mailing of notices to the interested persons, as well as a probate fee to cover the processing costs. The probate fee is based on the value of the assets. Please see the Fees Page for more information Unless exempted under Maryland statute, there is also an inheritance tax due on distribution of remaining assets.

Please refer to our publication “Administering Estates In Maryland” for more information. There is a link to it in our Publications Section, Return to Top Return to Topic 3.14. Must I file a Maryland Estate Tax return and pay Maryland Estate Tax ? Return to Top Return to Topic 3.15.

  • Who does one contact about estate taxes ? Return to Top Return to Topic 3.16.
  • Who distributes the estate’s assets ? The personal representative is responsible for distribution of assets after approval from the Register of Wills and the Orphans’ Court.
  • Return to Top Return to Topic 3.17.
  • A deceased person owes me money.

How do I file a claim against the estate ? Download form #1128 (‘Claim Against Decedent’s Estate’) from our Forms Page, Complete the form and submit it along with supporting documentation. The cost to file is $3.00 per claim. Please note that claims must be filed within 6 months from the date of death.

Return to Top Return to Topic 3.18. A deceased relative has ‘Unclaimed Property’. How do I claim it ? There are many variables involved when dealing with ‘Unclaimed Property’. You will need to contact the Register’s Office in the decedent’s jurisdiction of residence. Return to Top Return to Topic 4.1. What are the duties of a personal representative ? Maryland Law states that a personal representative “.is under general duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of the will and the estates of decedents law as expeditiously and with little sacrifice of value as is reasonable under the circumstances.” More specifically, in a regular estate the personal representative has a duty to: take possession of and marshal assets; prepare and file an inventory and information report; prepare and file an accounting; pay debts, taxes and costs of administration; and fulfill all other responsibilities required by Maryland Law.

Please refer to our publication “Administering Estates In Maryland” for more information. There is a link to it in our Publications Section, Return to Top Return to Topic 4.2. What should the prospective personal representative bring to qualify ? The basic needs for qualifying are: original will, if applicable; death certificate; estimated value of assets in decedent’s name alone or as a tenant in common; completed forms, if possible (see publications mentioned below to determine type of estate); filing fee (cash or check) if filing small estate (see Fees Page); title or registration for motor vehicles; funeral bill or contract if filing small estate; and names and current addresses of interested persons.

For additional information, please see “Administering Estates In Maryland” (booklet) and “What To Do If You Need To Open An Estate” available in our Publications Section, Return to Top Return to Topic 4.3. Does the personal representative have to post a surety bond ? Yes, unless the personal representative is a financial institution.

Return to Top Return to Topic 4.4. Does the personal representative have to be a Maryland resident ? An out of state resident may act as personal representative of a decedent’s estate as long as a Maryland resident agrees to act as their agent. For more information, contact the Register’s Office in the decedent’s jurisdiction of residence.

  1. Return to Top Return to Topic 4.5.
  2. What if the personal representative moves from Maryland to another state after the estate is opened ? He/she remains personal representative as long as a resident agent is formally designated immediately.
  3. Return to Top Return to Topic 4.6.
  4. What if the named personal representative is deceased or does not wish to serve ? An alternate personal representative can be appointed.

Please contact the Register’s Office in the decedent’s jurisdiction of residence to discuss your particular situation. Return to Top Return to Topic 4.7. What if the named personal representative wishes to be removed after being appointed ? The personal representative may resign his/her appointment by filing a written statement with the Register of Wills after giving at least 20 days notice to all interested persons in writing.

Are hand written wills legal in Maryland?

Holographic Wills in Maryland – Holographic wills are wills that have been written entirely in the hand of the testator. Although Maryland does recognize holographic wills, they must comply with Maryland law. Unless holographic wills are written properly, there is a chance the courts may not recognize the document as a valid last will and testament.

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Does a will have to be registered in Maryland?

What if a person dies with a Will and/or Codicil(s) but there are no assets in the decedent’s sole name? – Maryland Law requires that any one holding an original Will and/or Codicil(s) must file that document with the Register of Wills promptly after a decedent’s death even if there are no assets.

How much does a will cost in MD?

Small Estate Probate Fee for Estates Opened Before October 1, 2022 –

IF THE VALUE OF THE (SMALL) PROBATE ESTATE IS AT LEAST BUT IS LESS THAN THE FEE IS
$0 $200 $2
$200 $5,000 1% of the value of the Small Estate
See Regular Estate Probate Fee For Small Estates Over $5,000

Where do I file a will in Maryland?

Where do I go to obtain wills/probate information? Information regarding wills, probate and the registering of wills in Maryland is handled by the Register of Wills office in each jurisdiction. The Register of Wills serves as the Clerk to the Orphans Cour t, which has jurisdiction over judicial probate, administration of estates and conduct of personal representatives.

When someone dies without a will in Maryland?

Will the State get all the property if someone dies without a Will? – In most cases, no. If a person owns assets in his or her individual name and dies without a Will, assets remaining after payment of administration expenses, debts and taxes (if any) are distributed to the person’s heirs as provided under Maryland Intestacy Laws (the person is said to have died “intestate”).

Generally, the Intestacy statutes provide for property to be distributed to a decedent’s closest living relatives, i.e., to a surviving spouse and children, if there are any; to children in equal shares if there is no surviving spouse; to parents if there are no spouse and children; and so on to more distant relatives.

If there are no known blood relatives but there are stepchildren, the property would be distributed to the stepchildren, in equal shares. It is only if there are no known blood relatives or stepchildren that an estate may end up being distributed to the Board of Education in the City or County where the decedent lived.

Is Maryland a free will state?

In Maryland, employees work ‘at the will’ of their employers. This means, in the absence of an express contract, agreement or policy to the contrary, an employee may be hired or fired for almost any reason – whether fair or not – or for no reason at all.

How long do you have to file a will in Maryland?

General Estate Information Guide The purpose of this publication is to provide a quick-reference explanation of the procedural matters involved in the administration of estates. If you would like a more thorough version, please refer to the, Nothing contained herein is intended to advise anyone as to the legal remedies for a particular circumstance.

The Register of Wills and employees may assist with the necessary forms but cannot render legal advice. It is hoped that this brochure will be useful to you in answering general questions on how to proceed with the administration of an estate. REVISED AS OF JANUARY 1, 2004, AND EFFECTIVE FOR PERSONS DYING ON OR AFTER THAT DATE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

VARYING LAWS MAY APPLY FOR PERSONS DYING PRIOR THERETO. ESTATES AND TRUSTS LAWS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY THE LEGISLATURE AT ANY TIME. Maryland law requires that the custodian of a document appearing to be the last Will (including Codicils, if any) of the decedent shall file it promptly with the Register of Wills in the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death, even if it is not to be offered for probate.

  • When there are any assets in the decedent’s name alone (including interests held as a tenant-in-common), they must be reported to the Register of Wills.
  • A Personal Representative must be appointed by the Register of Wills or the Orphans’ Court before disposing of any assets.
  • When appointed, Letters of Administration will be issued to the Personal Representative.

Forms and procedures herein are mandated by Maryland Code and Maryland Rules. ( are available from the Register of Wills Office.)

  • SMALL ESTATES Assets subject to administration valued at $50,000 or less ($100,000 if the spouse is the sole legatee or 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)
  • (FOR PERSONS DYING ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 1998 ONLY, Small Estate value is determined by the fair market value of property less debts of record secured by the property, as of the date of death, to the extent that insurance benefits are not payable to the lien holder or secured party for secured debt.)
  1. Petition for Probate with Schedule B attached (Required appraisals must be submitted. The value of each item shall be fairly appraised as of the date of death. The Personal Representative may appraise corporate stocks listed on a national or regional exchange or over-the-counter securities, debts owed to the decedent, bank accounts, building or savings and loan association shares, and money. All other assets must be appraised by qualified disinterested appraisers. For persons dying on or after January 1, 1998, an alternate procedure is available for valuing real estate.)
  2. List of Interested Persons listing the names and addresses of those named in the Will, if any, and those who would inherit if there were no Will. (See “How Will My Property Be Distributed If I Die Without A Will?” )
  3. Consent to Appointment of Personal Representative (Only applicable if the person named in the Will, if any, or the person entitled to appointment, is not applying.)
  4. Appointment of Resident Agent if petitioner is not a Maryland resident
  5. Proof of Execution of Will if Will lacks an attestation clause
  6. Information Report listing trusts, jointly held property, retirement and P.O.D. accounts, gifts made within two years of death, and other non-probate property
  7. Notice of Appointment ~ Notice to Creditors designating an approved newspaper for publication may be required for certain small estates. (Leave dates blank except date of death.)
  8. Bond (Required in certain small estates.)
  9. Paid funeral bill
  10. Copy of death certificate (available from Division of Vital Records)
  11. Commissions are not available under a Small Estate administration.
  12. Petition for Probate with Schedule C attached. A request for a Limited Order to locate the Assets or locate the Will requires the name, address and a statement as to why the limited order is necessary. The limited order will either allow the search for assets titled in the name of the decedent or the entrance of the safe deposit box in the presence of the Register of Wills or authorized deputy to locate the Will for delivery to the office.

If more than four Letters of Administration are required, an additional fee of $1.00 each will be charged. REGULAR ESTATES Assets subject to administration in excess of $50,000 ($100,000 if the spouse is the sole legatee or 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)

  1. Petition for Probate with Schedule A attached
  2. Notice of Appointment ~ Notice to Creditors designating an approved newspaper for publication (Leave dates blank except date of death.)
  3. Bond (Required by law.)*
  4. Consent to Appointment of Personal Representative (Only applicable if the person named in the Will, if any, or the person entitled to appointment, is not applying.)
  5. Appointment of Resident Agent if petitioner is not a Maryland resident
  6. Proof of Execution of Will if Will lacks attestation clause
  7. List of Interested Persons** (names and addresses of those named in the Will, if any, and those who would inherit if there were no Will as set forth in “How Will My Property Be Distributed If I Die Without A Will?” )
  8. Copy of death certificate (available from Division of Vital Records)
  1. *In Judicial Probate, this form must be filed immediately after the Court appoints a Personal Representative or a Special Administrator.
  2. **Must be filed (a) within 20 days after appointment of a Personal Representative under Administrative Probate, or (b) at the time of filing a Petition for Judicial Probate.
  3. It is the duty of every Personal Representative or Special Administrator of a regular estate to timely file the following documents in the Register of Wills Office:

Inventory and Information Report – WITHIN THREE MONTHS from date of appointment, a complete Inventory with Schedules and an Information Report (see #6 under Small Estates) along with the required appraisals, must be submitted. The value of each item shall be fairly appraised as of the date of death and stated in the Inventory.

  • The Personal Representative may appraise corporate stocks listed on a national or regional exchange or over-the-counter securities, debts owed to the decedent, bank accounts, building or savings and loan association shares, and money.
  • All other assets must be appraised by qualified disinterested appraisers.

(For persons dying on or after January 1, 1998, an alternate procedure is available for valuing real estate.) First Account – WITHIN NINE MONTHS from the date of appointment, the First Account must be filed. The Account must include the inventoried assets and all activity of the administration.

  1. All receipts, including income, sales and redemptions, disbursements, distributions, and value of assets remaining in the hands of the Personal Representative must be reported.
  2. Documentation of transactions is required.
  3. Subsequent Accounts – MUST BE FILED as required by law until the estate is closed.

Petitions for Personal Representative Commissions and Attorneys Fees- Fees and commissions are subject to Court approval UNLESS the person died on or after January 1, 1998 AND (1) each creditor, who has filed a claim that is still open, and all interested persons consent in writing to the payment; (2) the combined sum of commissions and attorneys fees does not exceed the amounts provided below; and (3) the signed written consent form states the amounts of the payments and is filed with the Register of Wills.

Commissions may not exceed those computed as follows:

If the property subject to administration is: The commission may not exceed:
Not over $20,000 9.0%
Over $20,000 $1,800 plus 3.6% of the excess over $20,000

Probate Fees -The following fees will be assessed at the time of filing the First Account. Additional fees will be assessed when filing each subsequent Account if the probate estate increases. The value of the probate estate is the sum of all Inventories, principal and income receipts, and increases realized on a disposition, less decreases realized (other than a distribution to beneficiaries).

While the probate fee covers the cost of filing and recording documents in non-controversial estates, additional fees will be charged in controversial estates and for more than twelve Letters of Administration or two certified copies of the Will. The estate shall pay the expense of mailing the Notice of Appointment.

IMPORTANT: Effective October 1, 2022, no fees are due on Small Estates even if valued between $50,000 and $100,000 with a spouse as a sole heir or legatee.

Value Of Probate Estate Is At Least: But Less Than: The Fee Is:
0 50,000 $ 0
50,000 100,000 $ 100
100,000 500,000 $ 200
500,000 1,000,000 $ 1,000
1,000,000 2,500,000 $ 2,000
2,500,000 5,000,000 $ 5,000
5,000,000 7,500,000 $ 7,500
7,500,000 10,000,000 $ 10,000
10,000,000 $ 10,000 plus,02% of excess over $10,000,000

NOTICE: Effective October 1, 2022, the probate fees apply to estates opened on or after October 1, 2022. MODIFIED ADMINISTRATION For persons dying on or after October 1, 1997, Modified Administration is an option available to a Personal Representative within three months from the date of appointment.

The process, which is to be completed within twelve months, is available only if all residuary legatees or heirs are exempt from inheritance tax or the decedent’s personal representative and all trustees of any trusts are limited to the decedents Personal Representative, spouse and children, and if the estate is solvent and sufficient assets exist to satisfy all testamentary gifts.

All of the stated persons must file a written consent. (Forms and reporting requirements are different from those noted above under Regular Estates.) FOREIGN PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE When the decedent died domiciled other than in Maryland owning real property in Maryland at the time of death, the person appointed Personal Representative in that jurisdiction shall file an Application by Foreign Personal Representative to Set Inheritance Tax with the Register of Wills for the county where the largest part in value of the Maryland property is located.

This form, which lists the necessary requirements for filing, may be obtained from any Register of Wills Office in Maryland. Probate fees, costs and inheritance taxes will be assessed by the Register. Commencing on appointment until the time for filing claims has expired, the Personal Representative shall make a reasonably diligent effort to ascertain the names and addresses of the decedent’s creditors and mail or otherwise deliver to them a copy of the Notice of Appointment-Notice to Creditors.

INHERITANCE TAXES (Effective for persons dying on or after July 1, 2000. Different laws apply for persons dying prior to that date.) Property subject to inheritance tax:

  1. Property passing by Will or under the laws of intestacy
  2. Any interest as a joint owner (other than a surviving spouse) in any real or personal property, including credit union, bank, or other financial institution accounts
  3. A material part of the decedent’s property transferred by the decedent within two years of death (other than a bona fide sale) in the nature of a final disposition or distribution, including any transfer that resulted in joint ownership of property, if the transfer is made in contemplation of death
  4. Property over which the decedent retained any dominion at the time of death, including a beneficial interest, a power of revocation, or a power of appointment by Will or otherwise. This includes trusts, P.O.D. accounts, annuities or other public or private employee pension or benefit plans that are taxable for federal estate tax purposes, life estates and other interests less than absolute, in trust or otherwise

Exemptions from inheritance tax::

  1. Property that passes from a decedent to or for the use of a grandparent, parent, spouse, child or other lineal descendant, spouse of a child or other lineal descendant, stepparent, stepchild, brother or sister of the decedent, or a corporation if all of its stockholders consist of the surviving spouse, parents, stepparents, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, and lineal descendants of the decedent and spouses of the lineal descendants
  2. Life insurance benefits not payable to the estate of the insured
  3. Grave maintenance up to $500 passing under a Will for the perpetual upkeep of graves
  4. Property passing to a non-profit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code if incorporated in Maryland or if there is a reciprocal agreement with the jurisdiction where the organization has its principal office
  5. State, county or municipal corporations
  6. Property administered under a Small Estate proceeding
  7. Property passing to any one person not exceeding a total of $1,000
  8. Personal property of a non-resident with the exception of tangible property located in Maryland
  9. Income, including gains and losses, accrued on probate assets after the date of death of decedent (However, it is reportable to the State of Maryland as estate income.) (# 9 became effective January 1, 1998.)
  10. Effective 7/1/09 – TG 7-203-1 – Specified property that passes from a decedent to or for the use of a domestic partner of a decedent; etc.
  11. Effective 10/1/2019 – TG 7-203(m) – Real property subject to perpetual conservation easement.

Lineal Tax Rate applies to distributions to lineal heirs or legatees from a decedent dying prior to July 1, 2000, and may be obtained by contacting the Register of Wills Office. Collateral Tax Rate of 10% applies to property passing to persons or organizations not identified as exempt.

  1. Spouse and minor children of the decedent- spouse receives one-half, children share remaining one-half
  2. Spouse and children (all adult) of the decedent- spouse receives $40,000 ($15,000 if date of death is prior to 10/1/2017) plus one-half of remaining estate-children divide balance (the interest of a predeceased child passes to issue of that child)
  3. Children only of the decedent- children (does not include step-children) divide entire estate (the interest of a predeceased child passes to issue of that child)
  4. Spouse and parents of the decedent- spouse receives $40,000 ($15,000 if date of death is prior to 10/1/2017) plus one-half of remaining estate, if married less than 5 years – both parents divide balance or surviving parent takes balance. (If married more than 5 years see #5)
  5. Spouse of the decedent without other heirs listed above- spouse receives entire estate
  6. Parents of the decedent without other heirs listed above- both parents divide entire estate or surviving parent takes all
  7. Brothers/sisters of the decedent without heirs listed above- brothers and sisters divide estate equally (share of deceased sibling goes to their issue-nieces and nephews of the decedent)
  8. Grandparents without other heirs listed above- grandparents divide entire estate or, if deceased, to their issue (see applicable law for details)
  9. Great-grandparent without other heirs listed above- great-grandparents divide entire estate or, if deceased, to their issue (see applicable law for details)
  10. Step-children- if there are no heirs listed above
  11. No living heirs or step-children- If decedent was a recipient of long-term care benefits under the Maryland Medical Assistance Program at time of death, net estate is paid to Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Otherwise, the net estate is paid to the Board of Education.
  • All references to “Estate or Administration” only control assets that are in the decedent’s name alone or as tenants in common.
  • 10/2022

: General Estate Information Guide

Does a living will need to be notarized in Maryland?

Power of attorney for your health (Advance Directive) – You can give another person the authority to make decisions about your health care. This is called an “advance directive”, but it is also commonly called “power of attorney for health” or “medical power of attorney.” Unless otherwise stated in the advance directive, the directive goes into effect when you become too sick to make a decision about your care.

Does a living Will need to be notarized in Maryland?

Power of attorney for your health (Advance Directive) – You can give another person the authority to make decisions about your health care. This is called an “advance directive”, but it is also commonly called “power of attorney for health” or “medical power of attorney.” Unless otherwise stated in the advance directive, the directive goes into effect when you become too sick to make a decision about your care.

Is a Will done at home legal?

In theory, you could scribble your will on a piece of scrap paper. As long as it was properly signed and witnessed by two adult independent witnesses who are present at the time you sign your will, it should be legally binding. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Since 31 January 2020, it has been legal to witness a will remotely in England and Wales. For instance, this could include Zoom or FaceTime. The change is in response to the coronavirus pandemic – and the need for some people to shield. Find out more, including wording to use and how to make sure it’s legally valid, at GOV.UK (Opens in a new window) When it comes to executing a will, there are several differences between the rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland and those in England and Wales and rules have been eased during coronavirus.

If you live in Scotland, for more information visit the Law Society of Scotland (Opens in a new window) If you live in Northern Ireland, visit the Law Society of Northern Ireland (Opens in a new window) Most wills follow some general rules for what you say and how you say it.

  • These standard ways of writing things are tried and tested, and they remove any confusion about what you mean – even if the language seems unusual at first.
  • Using the wrong wording could mean that your instructions aren’t followed, and could even mean that your will isn’t valid.
  • So it’s a good idea to use a template that has the standard sections and legal terms already included.

You can get a will template or will pack from stationery shops and online services – they usually cost up to £30. In general you should only write your own will if your wishes are very simple. For example, if you’re married and:

you want to leave everything to your partner, or if they die before you, you want to leave everything to your children.

If there’s anything more complicated than that, you should probably use a solicitor or a will writing service. For example, if you have step-children or you aren’t married or in a civil partnership. You should definitely use professional help to write your will if:

you own property abroad you’re trying to reduce your Inheritance Tax bill you have foreign investments or bank accounts you own a business that you’re leaving to someone as part of your will you have people who are financially dependent on you other than your immediate family your will includes any wishes that might be misunderstood or are even slightly complicated.

The general message is – only use a DIY will if your wishes are very simple and your financial situation isn’t complicated. You might save money up-front compared with using a professional service. But if you get anything wrong you could be stirring up trouble for your family and friends when it comes to sorting out your finances after you’ve died.

  1. Be aware that if you use a will template, the company that supplies it won’t take any responsibility for your will being correctly made.
  2. If you make any mistakes that cause problems when your will is read, there won’t be any legal comeback at all.
  3. If you get it badly wrong, it could even mean that your will is invalid and the law decides who your money and property should go to.

If you’re happy to write your own will, make sure you’ve covered these points:

Make sure the will is signed, dated and witnessed correctly. The template should show you what you need to do. Carefully check your spelling – be extra careful with the spelling of people’s names. Be specific. For example, don’t just leave everything to ‘my wife’ – use your wife’s full name. Destroy any old wills – if you already have a will, make sure you destroy the old one and make sure the new one clearly states that it revokes the old one. The template you use should give you instructions on how to do this properly. Tell your executor where the will is to be kept – they’ll need to know when you die.