The estate tax is a tax on property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) transferred from deceased persons to their heirs. Only the wealthiest estates in the country pay the federal tax, because the estate’s value must exceed a specified exemption level, currently $5.34 million per person (effectively $10.68 million per married couple).

On January 1, 2015, Maryland will increase its estate tax exemption from $1 million to $1.5 million.  Maryland will then continue to increases its exemption each year through 2019 until its matches the federal exemption of $5.34 million.   By eventually matching the federal estate tax exemptionl, only the wealthiest Marylanders will be burdened with estate taxes.   According to the Tax Policy Center, only 1.4 estates out of a thousand (0.14%) owed any estate taxes in 2013.