Frederick, MD asked in Uncategorized for Maryland

Q: My brother died a couple weeks ago. I was his beneficiary. How do i go about closing his accounts out? Bank,CC,Car loan

Would like to pay off what ever he owed. he had a savings but i don't know how to go about access it. he bought his car in FL but its with me in MD and i don't know if he owes money on it or not and how do i return the tags? if he has no money do i owe for him being the beneficiary? I don't know what category this falls under.

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

A: You cannot do anything unless you are the Personal Representative of your brother's estate. You become that by petitioning to open an estate for your brother in the jurisdiction where he resided at the time of his death. In Maryland, that would be a county (or City of Baltimore) Register of Wills, located in the circuit court of that jurisdiction. The fillable forms may be downloaded from the Register of Wills website. There is a large estate and a small estate packet ($50,000 in assets is the cut-off between the two). Typically, if there's a will, the will names who the PR will be, and that person files the original will along with the petition, together with an original certificate of death (you should get about 10 certified Death Certificates for use in this process). Once you are PR and have been issued Letters of Administration (they will issue you a dozen or so original stamped copies), you will open an estate account and transfer all other balances from your brother's accounts into that one account, and close the bank accounts in his name. The banks will require that you provide them with an original Letter of Administration naming you PR. The car title can be taken to the MVA together with an original Letter of Administration and the death certificate, and re-titled into your name or the name of the estate, or to whomever is to receive the vehicle under the will or to whomever you sell the vehicle to. If sold, the proceeds are deposited into the estate account. Once the probate fee is paid (the fee is small) and the required notices and advertisements have been posted, and all approved debts and funeral expenses paid and reimbursed, and you file an accounting showing how all the assets and money has been applied, the court will approve the account and you can distribute the balance to the heirs (or yourself as the sole heir) and close the estate account. You can retain counsel if you need assistance in this matter, or make an appointment with the Register of Wills to obtain guidance. Due to the pandemic, however, courts are closed and operating at skeletal staff through June 5, 2020 as of this writing.

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