If a person died owning property of any kind in his/her name alone, or as a tenant in common an estate must be opened. An estate is filed with the Register of Wills office in the jurisdiction in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.

The following is a partial list of items you will need to open an estate in Maryland:

  • Decedent’s Last Will and Testament
  • Death Certificate
  • Funeral Contract/Bill
  • Approximate value of assets in the decedent’s name alone
  • Title to decedent’s automobiles and/or other motor vehicles
  • Names and addresses of persons interested in the estate
  • Regular Estate Forms
  • Small Estate Forms
  • Any applicable filing fee

Regular Estate – property of the decedent subject to administration in Maryland is established to have a value in excess of $50,000 (in excess of $100,000 if spouse is sole 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).

Small Estate – property of the decedent subject to administration in Maryland is established to have a value of $50,000 or less ($100,000 or less if the spouse is the sole 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).

If the decedent had property titled jointly with anyone other than the surviving spouse, there may be inheritance tax due.  Unless exempted under Maryland statute, inheritance tax due on distribution of remaining assets. For more information, contact the Register’s Office in the decedent’s jurisdiction of residence.

Typically real estate is an item that needs to be evaluated when establishing the items of an estate. Settling the estate usually requires an appraisal to establish Fair Market Value for the residential property involved. Often, the date of death differs from the date the appraisal is requested. Maryland Appraisal, LLC is familiar with the procedures and requirements necessary to perform a retroactive estate appraisal with an effective date and Fair Market Value estimate matching the date of death. The ethics provision within the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) binds us with confidentiality, competency while implementing the fullest degree of discretion.

All too often, people do not fully appreciate the need to have a detailed real estate appraisal prepared in support of the numbers being used in documents filed with revenue authorities. Opinions of value used in documents should be supported by a detailed report as to how the appraiser arrived at their conclusions. Such a report will certainly demonstrate to the authorities that the numbers used are well founded and substantiated.

Having a professional real estate appraisal gives the executor market data and reliable figures to present to all parties involved in the process of settling the estate. Some of these parties could include family members, friends of the deceased, IRS and/or state agencies.  Our Maryland certified real estate appraisers are confident in their ability to provide you with a credible appraisal report and have the conviction in any circumstance to support our valuation of real estate.

At times there is personal property within a residence that also needs to be appraised.  Inquiries can be made regarding personal property valuation and addressed on a case by case basis.

Information within this article and further information regarding opening/filing an estate, wills, probate fees, power of attorney, living trust and inheritance tax can be found at http://registers.maryland.gov. A toll free phone number is available for each county office for further inquiries.