Towson, MD asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland

Q: Would my father's coin collection need to be appraised before closing the estate classified as 'regular estate'

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Generally speaking, the PR is supposed to report a value to all personal property, but a formal appraisal may or may not be required depending on the nature of the items. A coin collection can be valuable or of no particular value, so if it is worth thousands of dollars, an appraisal is probably required. However, if you are the sole heir, no. If the will directs that the coin collection go to a particular individual, and that individual is exempt from the Maryland state probate tax (which does not apply to lineal heirs, siblings, parents or spouses), then no. If the coin collection is being distributed to a person who is subject to the Maryland probate tax of 10%, or if the PR is making a distribution "in kind" of personal property to multiple heirs and is valuing the coin collection as equivalent in value as some other items (like a dining room table and chairs) being given to another heir, then an appraisal would be necessary to set the probate tax or to resolve a dispute among the heirs as to equal value. In the latter case where the coin collection is being distributed as part of an in-kind share of personal property among heirs, then the heirs can simply agree as to what is fair, or let the PR decide, but if an heir objects, the objection must be in writing and filed with the court, and an appraisal may be called for in such a case. These types of disputes can happen with uniquely expensive items, like fine jewelry, artwork by famous artists, antiques, collectibles like coins or other rare items, even baseball cards, etc. One option is simply to sell the coin collection and report the proceeds as part of the estate assets, thereby resolving the value with a fair market sale to a third party.

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