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Maryland Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Hello, can a Disclaimer of Inheritance be signed electronically in Maryland? Thank you so much.
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Mar 20, 2024

Yes, but before you do so, make sure that the disclaimer achieves the results you want it to achieve. A disclaimer by law is treated as if the person disclaiming died before the decedent. If the Will directs that a deceased heir’s share be distributed “per stripes”, or by some other method,... View More

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My husband and his dad are on the deed for his dad's house. If his father dies and the will says otherwise, who owns?

My husband and his father are on the deed to his father's house. His father died but the will says that all 3 kids get the estate. So that would mean all 3 kids would be on the deed when he passes. Since my husband was originally on the deed before he died, does that mean it's officially... View More

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Mar 2, 2024

It all depends on how the deed was written. If the deed gave the co-owners survivorship rights, the surviving owner would own it all regardless of what the Will said (because there would be no interest to pass through the Will as it would have automatically gone to the survivor). However, if the... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Social Security for Maryland on
Q: Mother (SSI recipient) owns her home & would like to sell & come live with me. Can we purchase a home together? How?

My mother is 80 years old and lives in Florida. We'd like to sell her home and have her come live with me ( a married woman) in Maryland so that I may care for her as she ages in place. We'd like to use the proceeds of the sale to purchase a home in Maryland. I would apply for a home... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 29, 2024

When considering purchasing a home together with your mother, who is a recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it's important to understand how co-ownership might impact her benefits. SSI eligibility is sensitive to income and assets. However, a primary residence is not counted as an... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Can I transfer a house that I own into my mom's revocable living trust in Maryland?

I own a fully paid house in Rockville MD. I want to sell it to my mom but also have her put it into a trust with me as the beneficiary. Can I transfer the deed directly into her trust, or does the title first need to be transferred to my mom before she can transfer it into her trust?

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Feb 25, 2024

Yes, your mother’s trust can be the buyer, and you can be the seller, with a deed to match. This makes perfect sense if it truly is an arm’s-length transaction.

However, if what you are actually doing is gifting the house to her, then you should not do that without talking to an...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Can a lawyer be a beneficiary in a will and insurance policy, and leave their children out of it?

My father is mentally unstable. He would have doctors comit him to have his attorney have him released, for a large fee. My father died because the doctors and family was afraid to authorize treatment for a infection. His attorney is is sole benefactor in his life insurance and will. Isn't... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 10, 2024

It's not inherently illegal for a lawyer to be named as a beneficiary in a client's will or life insurance policy, but this situation can raise questions of undue influence or conflict of interest. If your father's mental capacity was in doubt, there could be grounds to challenge the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Maryland on
Q: How do I guarantee that my funeral wishes are respected? I want cremation but my family is for burial.
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Dec 15, 2023

There is no way to absolutely "guarantee" what people will do after one's death but taking the following 2 steps will make it more likely that final wishes will be honored:

1) pre-pay your expenses. If cremation and/or funeral arrangements are made while living and prepaid,...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Maryland on
Q: My grandmother has a house, when she purchased the house she put it in her name and 2 of her childrens name.

She is the only person that’s paid into the mortgage. She has 6 children one is deceased, 5 living. When she passes away she wants, after the house is sold (it’s already paid off) the money to be split evenly between the 5 living children and the the portion that would have went to her deceased... View More

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Dec 7, 2023

There are a variety of planning tools someone can use to name beneficiaries while keeping power to freely change those designations. Perhaps, if your grandmother got good advice, the deed is a life estate deed with full powers still vested in the planner. If so, she could change it freely by a... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: sisters want to sell a house they inherited, one wants reimbursed for paying the mortgage before the sale is that legal?

Two sisters inherited a house, one is the executor of the will. They both wish to sell the house but the executor payed the mortgage for the last two months out of pocket instead of out of the estate funds. She now wants reimbursed saying there were no estate funds only the bequeathments as set by... View More

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
answered on Dec 5, 2023

Yes. The sister can petition the court to remove the Personal Representative, who is not doing the job properly. There is no reason to pay a mortgage if the estate is insolvent. It just means the house must be sold. The bank will get all its money at settlement, if the price is high enough. The... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Is it legal for the executor of an estate to force a benificiary to pay for a mortgage on a house they inherited?

Two sisters inherited a house with a mortgage now one sister wants the other sister to quit claim deed the house. Said sister is also the executor of the estate and is forcing my wife to either pay half the mortgage or quit claim on said house

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
answered on Dec 5, 2023

"inheritance" doesn't mean the bank loan is forgiven. It must be either paid off from Estate funds, or refinanced by the person inheriting the property. A "quitclaim" deed (one without the usual warranties of title) means the mortgage lien/loan obligations of the dead... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Maryland on
Q: Are trust management services available and feasible for estates worth about $500,000?

I'm thinking about setting up a trust but don't know anyone I want to trust to be a trustee, so I'm looking for options. I've heard that trust management services are expensive and primarily for the wealthy. Would appreciate suggestions.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Nov 30, 2023

This question comes up quite often.

Most of the time the person making the trust will be the initial trustee and designate others to serve after their death or incapacity. Whether hiring a professional trustee is feasible or not depends in part on how long you want/need trust oversight....
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Can my sister demand rent from my daughter when my mom gave her permission to live for free

I have signed documentation from my mother while she was alive that my daughter can live rent free in her house if she pays bge/oil. My mother has passed. My sister and her lawyer are demanding rent be paid to the estate. Is that legal?

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Dec 20, 2023

An attorney cannot realistically answer questions pertaining to someone's specific rights in property based on unknown documents without sitting down and looking at the documents in question.

That said, it would generally be "legal" for an estate to ask someone occupying...
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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If a prenup disposes of real property must it be recorded

Our prenup gives me a life estate if my husband predeceases me, assuming I continue to pay the mortgage. Do we need to record notice of the life estate?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
answered on Nov 3, 2023

Your prenup is statement of intention. Only a recorded deed can pass an interest in land, or create a life-estate. For years our Firm has litigated this issue because the family law lawyers often don’t know how to handle the real property side of a separation agreement. It’s not hard, but it... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Can a parent be the trustee of a first party special needs trust created for a minor in the state of Maryland?

Does a parent have to have to meet a certain criteria in the state of Maryland to be trustee of a first party special needs trust in Maryland?

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Oct 25, 2023

In Maryland, a parent can serve as the trustee of a first-party special needs trust for a minor, subject to court approval and specific legal considerations. This includes demonstrating that the trust is in the minor's best interest and complies with state law. As a trustee, whether a parent... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: My mother became a beneficiary of a trust in 2002- I have discovered she wasn’t notified of its existence until 2007.

The trustees are refusing to provide account statements for that time period. Can I petition for a full accounting for 1997-2006?

Anthony M. Avery
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answered on Oct 12, 2023

Most if not all of those years will have busted the applicable SOL. Hire a competent MD attorney to sue for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and an accounting. Try to toll them as much as you can. The other beneficiaries are probably defendants also, which will put pressure on the trustees... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Estate planning a car under the estate was totaled we got a insurance check for it are we able to use it before closing
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Sep 11, 2023

In Maryland, the utilization of insurance proceeds from a totaled vehicle within an estate necessitates careful consideration of various factors. The appointed estate executor or administrator typically holds the authority to manage the estate's assets, including insurance payouts, adhering to... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My brother and I inherited our father's house with no lien (equal shares). I am buying his 1/2 interest in the property

based on the FMV. I am paying cash, no loan needed. I am wondering the pros/cons of either (1) transferring the property into our joint names first, then completing the buy-out after the estate is closed, or (2) doing the buy-out through the estate, then we distribute the house/funds accordingly.... View More

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Aug 31, 2023

Thanks for your post. One beneficiary/heir buying out the other(s) presents a fairly common scenario.

When an estate has enough other liquid assets, then to eliminate transfer taxes it often makes sense to distribute the real estate entirely to the child who wants to acquire it and...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Is an executor of a will required to disclose and pursue all verbal wishes of the deceased?
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Aug 8, 2023

No. Only what is written in the will, to the extent it is legal. Verbal wishes may be carried out in the discretion of the PR to the extent that the heirs are not harmed financially, or they do not object.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: If I leave anything in my estate planning to my mother, can her husband (my stepfather) claim any of it as her spouse?
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Jun 13, 2023

Generally speaking Maryland law does not give anyone the right to demand an inheritance going to anyone else, even their spouse. That said, depending on how planning documents are drafted and order of death, sometimes people do wind up with an inheritance intended to go their spouse.... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Hello, I am attempting to make sense of what rights I may have as tenants in common with my brother in my fathers's Will

In the Will, he states, "I give and devise unto my wife my real estate [home address] for the remainder of her natural life, or until she shall decide to reside elsewhere on a permanent basis, or until she shall remarry...she shall pay all maintenance cost, insurance, and property taxes at her... View More

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Jun 5, 2023

Hi and thanks for posting a real estate question.

The first variable is whether your father's wife is still living. This appears to be a life estate to your father's wife, with the life estate ending if the life tenant moves out or remarries.

You describe a position...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Any legal ramifications for withholding a will when someone passes ?Also related, anyway to find attorney who prepared

My boyfriend of 10 years passed away April 1. He told me in 2020/2021 he had done a will & it was with his papers at his shop. He told me who the executor was & that his son wasn't to get anything. It was not filed with register of wills

I believe his son found the will.... View More

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on May 31, 2023

Have you checked with the executor to see if he has a copy of the Will, or any correspondence regarding being named executor? Do you or anyone you know have access to the shop where the Will supposedly was stored? Do you know who he named as beneficiaries under his will?

The purported...
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