Towson, MD asked in Probate for Maryland

Q: Does the Executor need signatures from the heirs before final payout of a regular estate

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

A: No. The final distributions are made in accordance with the final account filed and approved by the court. Written exceptions to the account are filed by any interested person and resolved by the court, if any are filed. That is not to say that a distribution plan cannot be agreed upon by all beneficiaries of an estate where various assets such as valuable tangible property has to be equalized and the beneficiaries may argue over the values, and so they come to an agreement. It is up to the PR to decide whether to resolve such matters by a global agreement, or to come up with a distribution plan the court approves of instead of an agreement among beneficiaries (such as when beneficiaries cannot agree). Agreements are not necessary when all assets are reduced to cash proceeds and can be easily divided equally among the beneficiaries (or as directed by the will), or the tangible personal property that remains has little resale value and simply needs to be divided by some means, like drawing numbers and taking turns selecting the personal property in the absence of agreement. However, the PR is generally empowered to make all determinations as to property division in as equitable a means as they determine is fair. Objections to such a procedure may always be filed with the court for resolution by a judge. However, the PR is appointed specifically for this purpose: to distribute the estate as required by law, and the heirs/beneficiaries do not have a right to be consulted about this in advance--they are only granted notice of the final account which contains the distribution plan, and an opportunity to object or file exceptions. Nothing stops a beneficiary of an estate from contacting the PR to discuss such matters, however, with an eye toward reaching an agreement on a process all beneficiaries agree upon.

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