Streamline Transfer of Estates

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 556, “Estates and Trusts – Administration of Estates – Waiver of Fees”, to the House Health and Government Operations Committee of February 14, 2018.

This bill would allow for the waiver of probate and administration fees in certain circumstances where the heir of an estate is unable to afford the settlement of an estate. Additionally, if the heir continues to live on the property it is possible that they may not be receiving appropriate bills for property taxes or utility usage that would be sent in the owner of the property’s name.

MACo supports this bill in the effort to effectively settle estates to avoid proceeding to tax sale while also ensuring accurate land reports and reduce errant billing.

From MACo Testimony:

This bill helps remove an obstacle to having accurate land records, and could reduce errant billing leading to extraordinary tax collection complications. This is accomplished by authorizing Registers of Wills to waive probate fees in certain circumstances where an heir may not be able to afford to settle an estate and effectuate the transfer of title to property.

Counties support this bill as a “good government,” wise approach to prevent properties from unnecessarily going to tax sale. Tax sale serves as an effective means of collection and one of last resort. However, it benefits everyone to make sure that the record owner of the property is correct, so that counties can provide notice of moneys owed and assistance to their residents effectively.”

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.