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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 5-3.1
Exemption for benefit of family
Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT) CHAPTER 17-B, ARTICLE 5, PART 3
§ 5-3.1 Exemption for benefit of family

(a) If a person dies, leaving a surviving spouse or children under the
age of twenty-one years, the following items of property are not assets
of the estate but vest in, and shall be set off to such surviving
spouse, unless disqualified, under 5-1.2, from taking an elective or
distributive share of the decedent's estate. In case there is no
surviving spouse or such spouse, if surviving, is disqualified, such
items of property vest in, and shall be set off to the decedent's
children under the age of twenty-one years:

(1) All housekeeping utensils, musical instruments, sewing machine,
jewelry unless disposed of in the will, clothing of the decedent,
household furniture and appliances, electronic and photographic devices,
and fuel for personal use, not exceeding in aggregate value twenty
thousand dollars. This subparagraph shall not include items used
exclusively for business purposes.

(2) The family bible or other religious books, family pictures, books,
computer tapes, discs and software, DVDs, CDs, audio tapes, record
albums, and other electronic storage devices, including but not limited
to videotapes, used by such family, not exceeding in value two thousand
five hundred dollars.

(3) Domestic and farm animals with their necessary food for sixty
days, farm machinery, one tractor and one lawn tractor, not exceeding in
aggregate value twenty thousand dollars.

(4) The surviving spouse or decedent's children may acquire items
referred to in subparagraphs (1), (2) and (3) of this paragraph, in
excess of the values set forth in such subparagraphs by payment to the
estate of the amount by which the value of the items acquired exceeds
the amounts set forth in such subparagraphs. If any item so acquired by
the spouse or children of the decedent was a specific legacy in
decedent's will, the payment to the estate for such item shall vest in
the specific legatee.

(5) One motor vehicle not exceeding in value twenty-five thousand
dollars. In the alternative, if the decedent shall have been the owner
of one or more motor vehicles each of which exceed twenty-five thousand
dollars in value, the surviving spouse or decedent's children may
acquire one such motor vehicle from the estate, regardless of the fact
that the decedent may also have been the owner of another motor vehicle
of lesser value than twenty-five thousand dollars, by payment to the
estate of the amount by which the value of the motor vehicle exceeds
twenty-five thousand dollars; in lieu of receiving such motor vehicle,
the surviving spouse or children may elect to receive in cash an amount
equal to the value of the motor vehicle, not to exceed twenty-five
thousand dollars. If any motor vehicle so acquired by the spouse or
children of the decedent was a specific legacy in decedent's will, the
payment to the estate of the amount by which the value of the motor
vehicle exceeds twenty-five thousand dollars shall vest in the specific
legatee.

(6) Money including but not limited to cash, checking, savings and
money market accounts, certificates of deposit or equivalents thereof,
and marketable securities, not exceeding in value twenty-five thousand
dollars, reduced by the excess value, if any, of acquired items referred
to in subparagraphs (1), (2), (3) and (5) of this paragraph. However,
where assets are insufficient to pay the reasonable funeral expenses of
the decedent, the personal representative must first apply such money to
defray any deficiency in such expenses.

(7) Any set off to a child under the age of twenty-one years not
exceeding ten thousand dollars shall be covered by the provisions of
section twenty-two hundred twenty of the surrogate's court procedure act
as if the child were a beneficiary of the estate. Any excess amounts
shall be governed by the guardianship statute, if applicable.

(8) The court shall have the authority to issue such documentation as
necessary to effectuate the transfer of any items under this section.

(b) No allowance shall be made in money or other property if the items
of property described in subparagraph (1), (2), (3) or (5) of paragraph
(a) are not in existence when the decedent dies.

(c) The items of property, set off as provided in paragraph (a),
shall, at least to the extent thereof, be deemed reasonably required for
the support of the surviving spouse or children under the age of
twenty-one years of the decedent during the settlement of the estate.

(d) As used in this section, the term "value" shall refer to the fair
market value of each item, reduced by all outstanding security interests
or other encumbrances affecting the decedent's ownership of said item.