You do not have to pay the Maryland Inheritance Tax if your relationship to the decedent is: spouse, parent, step-parent, grandparent, child (biological, adopted or step), grandchild or any lineal descendant, i.e. any descendant in the direct line, stepparent or stepchild, brother or sister, or a corporation if all stockholders consist of only the above persons.
You do have to pay the Maryland Inheritance Tax if you inherit property and your relationship to the decedent is: niece, nephew, cousin, aunt, uncle, step-grandchild, friend, any unrelated person, or a non-exempt organization.
Property worth $1,000 or less is exempt from the inheritance tax, and so is property administered under a Small Estate. The above applies to deaths from July 1, 2000 onward. There is no difference in the inheritance tax whether the decedent died with or without a Will. Bequests to recognized charitable organizations are not subject to the Maryland Inheritance Tax.
All property that passes upon death is subject to the Maryland Inheritance Tax unless there is a specific legal exemption, including, among others, jointly titled property, joint tenancy interests, life estate interests, material transfers of one’s property within two years of death and transfers made in contemplation of death, and retained life estates and other retained interests, such as in revocable and irrevocable trusts.
Spouses, including disinherited spouses have special inheritance rights, whether or not the decedent made a Will. Rather than assume something and lose out, schedule a Rights & Options consultation with a Wills and Estates lawyer.