What is a Beneficiary to an Estate in Maryland?

When a person wants to prepare for what will happen to their assets after their death, they create an estate plan. By doing this, they are able to ensure the assets end up in the right hands through the creation of a will or trusts. When these assets are distributed, they are given to beneficiaries. A beneficiary is a person or entity that inherits the assets of a deceased individual.

When an estate goes through probate, beneficiaries often find it helpful to enlist an attorney to guide them through the process and protect their rights to certain assets.

Minor Beneficiaries

When people create an estate plan, they sometimes leave assets behind for younger children to inherit when they grow older. If a beneficiary is a child, they may need a guardian to oversee and manage the asset, trust, or life insurance policy until the child is of a certain age. This age may be specified within the estate plan depending on the wishes of the deceased.

Tax Obligation

There are some states that subject residents to both an inheritance tax and an estate tax, while other states only require one. However, Maryland is one of the states that require residents to pay both taxes. In Maryland, the estate tax is imposed on estates that are worth more than $5 million. This tax falls on the estate of the deceased individual and the beneficiaries may inherit what is left. These state taxes are in addition to a federal tax that falls on the estate.


When a person passes away with an estate plan, they often have a will. This document outlines what each beneficiary is designated to receive from the estate plan. After the individual passes, their will must go through probate. This process works to determine if the will is a valid document. There are some cases in which a beneficiary may be suspicious of a will’s content and believe that it did not follow the legal process to be created. A beneficiary may wish to contest a will is they believe the following:

  • The deceased did not sign their will
  • There were no witnesses present to the signing
  • The deceased was coerced into signing their will

In the event of this, a beneficiary may contest a will to determine its validity. An experienced attorney can advise a beneficiary through this process.

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know is a beneficiary of an estate and wishes to speak with an attorney, contact the Law Offices of JD Katz today.

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.