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Effective October 1, 2023, legislation will take effect that makes significant changes to Maryland’s intestacy law, which governs probate when someone dies without a Last Will and Testament. Click here for a side-by-side comparison of current versus new law and click here to read the legislation as signed into law by Governor Moore.
Effective October 1, 2023, qualifying domestic partners may file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with their local Register of Wills and become “registered domestic partners.” Click here for a detailed explanation of how to qualify and how you may benefit from this service.
FORM UPDATES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2023: Form RW1153, Affidavit of Attempt to Comply with Federal, State, and Local Laws Related to Firearms, Ammunition, and Destructive Devices, is required when filing a Schedule B, a Final Report under Modified Administration, an Interim Account, or a Final Account that reports the disposition of firearms, ammunition, or destructive devices. Form RW1138, Consent to Compensation for Personal Representative and/or Attorney, has a language update in the main body of the form. The forms page has RW1153 available effective June 23, 2023, for any filings anticipated for July 1, 2023, and after. RW1138 will be available July 1, 2023. The old RW1138 form will be accepted for a short time after July 1, 2023, when Register of Wills offices will begin requiring the new form with updated language.
NEW WEBSITE LAYOUT - we have updated the Register of Wills website to the latest State of Maryland layout.
EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2022, a new fee schedule goes into effect for estates opened on or after October 1, 2022. Small estate probate fees are completely eliminated and additional fees are modified. Please click HERE for the new fee schedule.
Who We Are
The Office of Register of Wills is a public office established under the Constitution of the State of Maryland. The Constitution provides for a Register from each county and the City of Baltimore. Each Register is elected by qualified voters for a four-year term of office at the time of the gubernatorial election.
The Register of Wills is responsible for appointing personal representatives to administer decedents’ estates and for overseeing the proper and timely administration of these proceedings.
We also perform the following duties: assist and advise the public in the preparation of all required forms; maintain and preserve the permanent record of all proceedings; serve as the Clerk to the Orphans’ Court; track estates and refer delinquent matters to the Court; determine and collect inheritance taxes and probate fees/court costs; audit accounts of personal representatives and guardians; mail various notices and court orders to interested persons; and, verify compliance with court orders. As a service, we provide safekeeping for wills of living persons.
What Is Probate?
The literal interpretation means to prove, as in proving one's will. It can be done administratively in the Register of Wills Office or judicially by the Orphans' Court when necessary. It is the marshalling of assets, the payment of all creditors and the transference of all property in the decedent's name to the beneficiaries either named in the will or who would inherit under the laws of intestacy (dying without a will).
About Our Services
The Offices of the Registers Of Wills are committed to giving our constituents the best service possible. Every effort is made to provide accurate information and assistance regarding matters that are important to you. Please be advised, however, that we are prohibited by law from rendering legal advice.
We have published this website in an attempt to carry on our tradition of courteous, professional and efficient service. The information you will find here is intended to assist you by providing some basic information relating to estates and the functions of our offices. Please be sure to check our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and our Publications Section for general information, sample guides and informative brochures.
We sincerely hope you find this website helpful and your experience with our offices satisfactory.
Importance of Wills and Estate Planning
- Appointment of trusted fiduciaries (personal representatives, trustees and guardians)
- Achieve maximum savings of administrative costs and death taxes
- Dispose of your estate according to your wishes
- Avoid possible family disputes