Estate Search FAQ

  1. What is Estate Search?
  2. What records are available on Estate Search?
  3. How current is the data on Estate Search?
  4. How far back can you inquire about cases on Estate Search?
  5. How long do records remain on Estate Search?
  6. Why do I lose the connection and get returned to the Estate Search home page?
  7. How can I find the meaning of some of the terms in Estate Search?
  8. How do I obtain additional case information?
  9. Why can't I find the Estate when searching by name?
  10. Why can't I find the Estate when searching by estate number?
  11. I know the estate was filed in Baltimore, but I can't find it.
  12. I keep getting the message: "The result set exceeds the limit of 500 records. Please narrow your search."
  13. Who do I contact if I have questions about Estate Search?

1. What is Estate Search?
Estate Search provides public access, via the internet, to information from estate records maintained by the Maryland Registers of Wills. This information includes decedent's name, estate number and status, date of death, date of filing, personal representative, attorney, decedent alias, and docket history.

2. What records are available on Estate Search?
Records are available from 1998 to present for all estates filed with the Registers of Wills. Below is a list of the estate types and a brief description.

List of Estate Types

  • Regular Estate (RE) - Assets subject to administration in excess of $30,000 ($50,000 if the spouse is the sole legatee or heir).
  • Regular Estate Judicial (RJ) - A proceeding conducted by the Orphans' Court when matters cannot be handled administratively. For example, when the validity of the will is at issue, or the will is lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Small Estate (SE) - Assets subject to administration valued at $30,000 or less ($50,000 if the spouse is the sole legatee or heir).
  • Small Estate Judicial (SJ) - A proceeding conducted by the Orphans' Court when matters cannot be handled administratively. For example, when the validity of the will is at issue, or the will is lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Foreign Proceeding (FP) - Decedent domiciled out of state with real property in Maryland.
  • Motor Vehicle (MV) - Transfer of motor vehicle only.
  • NonProbate (NP) - Property of the decedent which passes by operation of law such as a joint tenancy, tenants by the entireties, or property passing under a deed or trust, revocable or irrevocable. Non probate property must be reported to the Register of Wills on the Information Report or Application to Fix Inheritance Tax on Non-Probate assets.
  • Unprobated Will Only (UN) - Will filed, along with Information Report and/or Application to Fix Inheritance Tax reporting no assets.
  • Modified Administration (MA) - A procedure available when the residuary legatees consist of the personal representative, spouse and children. Estate must be solvent and final distribution must occur within 12 months from date of appointment. A verified final report is filed within 10 months from the date of appointment.
  • Guardianship Estate (GE) - Guardianship of property for a minor.
  • Limited Order (LO) – A limited order to locate assets or a will.

3. How current is the data on Estate Search?
The data is updated daily at the end of the business day.


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4. How far back can you inquire about cases on Estate Search?
Estate records are available from 1998 to present for all jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions have entered older estate records.

5. How long do records remain on Estate Search?
Records will remain in Estate Search indefinitely and are not removed except by a Court Order.

6. Why do I lose the connection and get returned to the Estate Search home page?
Estate Search is programmed to time out after 2 minutes of inactivity.

7. How can I find the meaning of some of the terms in Estate Search?
See the Estate Search Glossary

8. How do I obtain additional case information?
You can obtain additional estate information at the Register of Wills Office in the jurisdiction where the estate record is on file. Requests must be made in person or in writing. For office locations and contact information, see: registers.maryland.gov.


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9. Why can't I find the Estate when searching by name?
To refine your search, try using just the last name in the jurisdiction of residence of the decedent.

Other Helpful search tips:

  • Searching by last name only is allowed. Partial name searches are allowed. The percent sign (%) is a wildcard.
    The wildcard can assist your search in several ways.
    Example 1: You are looking for a person whose last name is either Smithman or Smithson. You can enter Smith% and the search will return every name that begins with Smith (Smithson, Smithman, Smithsburg, etc.).
    Example 2: You want to find every person whose last name is Smith and whose first name begins with an M. You enter Smith in the last name field and M% in the first name field. The search will return every Smith whose first name begins with M.
    Example 3: You are looking for a person whose first name is Mary but you are not sure if the last name is Steinberg or Stromberg. You enter Mary in the first name field and %berg in the last name field. The search will return every person whose first name is Mary and last name ends with berg.
  • When searching for a date range you need to enter a last name or first name (partials allowed)
  • You can sort the columns by clicking on the column header.
  • Select 'New Search' to return to a clear search screen.
  • Use the 'Clear' button to clear all fields and begin your search again.

10. Why can't I find the Estate when searching by estate number?
In some instances you will need to provide a full 12 (twelve) character estate number. If you have an estate number with less than 12 characters, please provide leading zeros to provide a full 12 character estate number. (Ex: 000000123456, 000000W21001, 000123-12-09)

11. I know the estate was filed in Baltimore, but I can't find it.
Baltimore City and Baltimore County are two completely separate entities. Verify the decedent's jurisdiction of residence and try your search again.

12. I keep getting the message: "The result set exceeds the limit of 500 records. Please narrow your search."
When a search exceeds 500 records, Estate Search returns the first 500 cases pulled from the database which may not include the record you are seeking. You should narrow your search by including other information such as the filing date range, first name, case type, etc.

13. Who do I contact if I have questions about Estate Search?
For assistance, please contact your Register of Wills Office. See registers.maryland.gov for office locations and contact information.


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