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March 21, 2013

Allowance for Funeral Expenses in Small Estates

Funeral expenses can often be an enormous financial burden on families who are already dealing with the emotional and financial stress caused by the death of a loved one. Last November, Maryland passed a law that increased the maximum allowance for funeral expenses that a court can authorize for small estates from $5,000 to $10,000. See MD Code, Estates and Trusts, § 8-106. The increase in allowable funeral expenses has a big impact in small estates that have insufficient assets to pay claims made against them because funeral expenses have priority over other claims. In addition, the law also clarifies what constitutes “funeral expenses” that can be paid from the estate. This law makes it easier for family and friends to be reimbursed for the decedent’s funeral, burial, cremation, or memorial, as well as food and beverages related to a pre or post funeral or wake gathering.