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  • Randall Fisher

“Small” Estates Get Bigger for Maryland Probate

A new Maryland law increases the maximum value of a decedent’s assets that qualifies for probate administration as a small estate.

According its fiscal policy note, Maryland Chapter 62 “increases the eligibility thresholds for small estate administration from $30,000 to $50,000, for estates in general, and from $50,000 to $100,000 for an estate for which the surviving spouse is the sole legatee or heir of the decedent.”  Chapter 62 took effect on October 1, 2012.

Estates qualifying for probate administration as small estates are exempt from the federal and state estate taxes, and any property distributed from small estates is exempt from Maryland’s 10 percent inheritance tax.

As policy analyst Scott D. Kennedy notes, “Small estate administration can allow for estates below the statutory thresholds to be administered in a simplified manner and shorter timeframe in comparison to administration of a regular estate.  . . . Lower fees also apply to an estate with a value of $5,000 or less.

“The eligibility thresholds for small estate administration were last changed by Chapter 118 of 2000, which increased the threshold for estates in general from $20,000 to $30,000 and created the separate threshold of $50,000 for estates for which the surviving spouse is the sole legatee or heir.”

While there is no forthcoming data to determine how many additional estates should benefit from the probate administration changes, the fiscal effect on Maryland’s budget is expected to be negligible.

Check back with us for further updates on Maryland estate law changes taking effect in the next year.

As always, good luck and good hunting.

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The Fisher Law Office is renowned for its experience in estate planning, probate administration, asset protection, and business law. Annapolis attorney Randall D. Fisher has practiced for over 20 years, maintains the highest peer review rating for ethics (AV Preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell, and is a sucker for long walks on the fairways.

Find out how to reach Randy via TheFisherLawOffice.com or find him at Facebook.com/FisherLawOffice, on Twitter @thefisherlawoffice, or at LinkedIn.com/in/FisherLawOffice.

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