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Inheritance Tax in Maryland


Estate taxes are imposed when the property you own is transferred to your heirs after your death.  Inheritance taxes are the taxes imposed on the person receiving that property, also known as a beneficiary.  Maryland is one of only six states in the United State that impose an inheritance tax.

Inheritance Tax Law

Maryland imposes an inheritance tax when certain beneficiaries receive the assets of an estate after the decedent has passed away.  The state of Maryland imposes inheritance taxes on all property that passes under a will, trust, deed, joint ownership, or the intestate laws of succession.

Unlike an estate tax, an inheritance tax is not dependent upon how large the estate is.  Rather, it is based on who receives the assets and property of your estate.  The Maryland inheritance tax is collected by the Register of Wills in the Maryland county where the decedent lived and/or the property was owned.

Inheritance Tax Rates

When applicable, Maryland’s inheritance tax is 10% of the “clear value” of the property that was inherited.  Clear value is defined as the market value minus certain expenses.  This inheritance tax must be paid before the distribution of the property.

Certain exemptions apply, such as if an inheritor needs to sell a small business in order to afford the inheritance tax.  In such cases, the inheritor would have up to five years to make the installment payments.  Such cases are challenging, and consulting with an experienced attorney can help you know your rights and responsibilities regarding these complex inheritance tax laws.

Additionally, gifting part of your estate before you pass away does not necessarily exempt the property or assets from this inheritance tax.  If a gift is made “in contemplation of death,” this deathbed gift is still subject to the Maryland inheritance tax.  In fact, according to the Maryland Code section 7-201, some gifts that are given up to two years before death can be eligible for this tax.

Inheritance Tax Exemptions

Inheritance tax law is different than estate tax law, as it is based upon who is in receipt of the property, rather than on the total amount or value of the property. Closer relatives and charities are exempt from the inheritance tax, and other inheritors may pay an inheritance tax rate of 10%.

If you are an inheritor and fall into one of the following categories, you may be exempt from paying inheritance tax in Maryland.  The inheritance tax exemption categories are as follows:

  • Spouse
  • Child, stepchild, former stepchild, grandchild, or any other lineal descendant
  • Parent, stepparent, or former stepparent
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Spouse of a child, stepchild, grandchild, or any other lineal descendant
  • Surviving spouse of a deceased child or lineal descendant, if the surviving spouse has not remarried
  • A business (if all owners are legally exempt)
  • Maryland section 501(c)(3) exempt nonprofit organization
  • Other select non-profits

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

An estate attorney can help you not only determine the best way to plan for the distribution of your estate after your death but also how to understand the complex estate and inheritance taxes in Maryland.

Estate and inheritance planning are both challenging to legally navigate, especially in Maryland.  You deserve to maximize the amount of your assets you can pass on after your death.  If your loved one has passed away, an attorney can help you understand your rights, and the complex legal estate and inheritance tax laws. Contact the experienced Prince Frederick estate & trust litigation attorneys serving southern Maryland at Meng Law for assistance with your case.


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