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Maryland Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I am a beneficiary to my mother's estate. I solely took care of my mom for years in her home and oversaw her care,

otherwise there would be no house to sell. My sibling is the Executor, has hired an appraiser to sell furniture, donate and discard her belongings without including me. I've asked for a detailed list of everything sold and donated but has refused telling me to wait til all is finalized. Do I... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 16, 2021

You should probably have a consult with a lawyer to review the will, if any, and the petition for probate and inventory. Perhaps you should be a co-personal representative or insist on notices or file a claim.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: § 7-201. Duty to prepare and file inventory: Specifically, it states "The inventory shall include (#2) tangible personal

property, EXCLUDING??: Wearing apparel, other than furs and jewelry; and (ii) Provisions for consumption by the family

WHY WOULDNT THESE BE INCLUDED?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 14, 2021

A lawyer can be very helpful in sorting these things out, but, generally, the clothing of the deceased has very little economic value. It is most often donated to a homeless shelter or Salvation Army, and the proceeds are insignificant. The leftover food in the house is worth even less, and you... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My mom passed away with no will. She is not married and I am her legal heir. How can I get money from her estate?

My mom was not married and I am over 18 years of age. I need money before going to probate.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Apr 11, 2021

It's not that simple. When a person dies, any assets they own becomes property of their estate, whether or not a formal estate has been filed and opened. Financial institutions like banks will freeze and lock the accounts of any account holder whom they learn has died, and will only allow... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: How can I resign as trustee from a family trust, the deceased family member died destitute, & backup refuses to serve?

The beneficiaries of the trust are four charities, and I have already sent an email to all four indicating that my godmother died destitute owing thousands of dollars in taxes and credit card companies.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Apr 3, 2021

So, are you saying there are no assets in the trust? Simply notify all charities of this fact, by certified mail, and that you intend to resign. If there are trust assets, you will need to identify what those assets are by way of an accounting (nature, location, amount/value as of the most recent... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: "A Personal Representative has an obligation to appraise everything in the probate estate." This was in response to a

question I previously posted. (1) I noticed on the MD court website for my mother's estate, with the docket of forms already filed with the court, the PR has listed $0 in inventory of household belongings filed. I've become aware an appraiser was hired to sell, donate or gift belongings... Read more »

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 26, 2021

To get specific legal advice on a particular estate you may want to reach out to an estate attorney for a consultation.

To answer the general question "Does [a] PR need permission from the court to settle?" Usually no, under most circumstances a Personal Representative in...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What is the best way for four families to build one shared residence?

We and three other families intend to sell our homes when our kids go to college and build one large custom home on acreage. Should we form some manner of legal entity to pool our money and deal with the builder, etc.?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Mar 26, 2021

Best way is not to do this. If someone wants or needs out, or life events happen (divorce, death, severe health issues, long-term nursing care needs and Medicaid qualification, to name but a few), then you’ve got a mess on your hands. That’s separate from all the headaches of shares use,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I can access my mother's public estate information on the Maryland website presently going through probate. I noticed a

recent update was filed but wasn't included in the docket information to request a copy. Why is this not listed? Also, can you tell me what are "court sealed dockets" that are not available to request a copy other than a Will held in safekeeping? Thank you.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 16, 2021

Most all documents filed in an estate are a matter of public record. The court may, in rare situations, seal documents which are not open to the public.

If you have questions about a specific filed document not showing up in the docket it would probably be best to direct the question to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: It is noted, Distributions cannot be made to the estate heirs/legatees until after the final account is audited approved

from the Executor. However, do the heirs receive notice before final distribution and have the opportunity to request a detailed summary of the accounting and able to object if need be? Also can the Executor (and heir) allow himself compensation against the estate if another heir took care of... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Mar 16, 2021

Objections (or, "exceptions") to an account may be made within 20 days following the court's notice approving the account. Note, this is not 20 days after receiving a copy of the account that has yet to be approved. In many cases, the audit department raises issues and requires... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I have resisted hiring a lawyer to assist in our family's regular estate claim as the BaltoCo court gives

all necessary info and guidelines for the Executor to proceed, but more importantly to avoid any unnecessary legal fees. As a beneficiary only myself, I suppose I can file a grievance with the court if need be. Can you tell me what a probate lawyer can do that I wouldn't be able to do myself... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Mar 16, 2021

Unless there is some malfeasance or basis to object to the PR's handling of the estate or performance as PR, then there is little reason to hire a lawyer. It will simply cost you money. Lawyers charge by the hour, and that can range depending on how experienced the lawyer is. A couple to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I always thought the Executor's job (and as an heir himself) was to execute the will and to notify siblings of decisions

such as contract on sale of house, etc. Seems to me from the responses on this site, it is a mere suggestion from the BaltoCo court to keep siblings informed and not a legal requirement. It seems the Executor has complete authority and only answers to the court, unless I file a grievance, it is... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Mar 16, 2021

The notices required to be mailed to interested persons by law are set forth in the Estates & Trusts Code and the Procedural Rules of Maryland. They are limited, but you will receive copies of any Accounts filed in the estate. However, all court proceedings and filings in an estate are open... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Can my brother (Executor of my mother's estate, and my sister create a contract of sale for our family home without me
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 15, 2021

Assuming the "family home" is in the probate estate, then yes, a Personal Representative of an estate can usually sell the property without getting permission from other family members. However, the Personal Representative must report the sale to the court and get the court to sign off... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: To avoid taxing on a coin collection worth thousands, it's prob best to avoid the appraisal process and divide

the collection among beneficiaries in the meantime UNLESS an heir believes the collection wouldn't be appraised appropriately all together at a later date after regular Estate is closed

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 15, 2021

This appears like a conclusion rather than a question. However, to the extent this is a question asking whether a Personal Representative can/should avoid appraising an asset to avoid tax, that would be a very ill-advised course of action. A Personal Representative has an obligation to appraise... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Would my father's coin collection need to be appraised before closing the estate classified as 'regular estate'
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Mar 14, 2021

Generally speaking, the PR is supposed to report a value to all personal property, but a formal appraisal may or may not be required depending on the nature of the items. A coin collection can be valuable or of no particular value, so if it is worth thousands of dollars, an appraisal is probably... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Can I submit a claim for hospice caregiving services rendered by me against my mother's estate in probate

if my siblings authorize and agree to it?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 11, 2021

If all interested parties agree that you should be paid, you should be able to work it out as either a claim or a partial renunciation. This is a matter to be discussed with the personal representative or the lawyer.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Maryland on
Q: Am I legally able to make a claim against my mother's estate for caregiver services

rendered solely by me that was necessary for 'at home hospice care' the last 6 months of her life with verified and supported documentation?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Mar 11, 2021

Without proof of an agreement/contract for compensation as a caregiver, Maryland law treats all services such as these provided to a family member as having been natural gifts of familial love and caring, without any right of reimbursement for your labor or time. If you were required to expend... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: If 1st and 2nd choice for personal rep decline, will my sister & I (heirs) have to serve as Rep if neither of us want 2

My sister an i agree there is too much work involved in settling our mother's estate. We are listed as heirs. We are the decedents daughters. We don't think anyone will be willing to serve as executor. Who will the court choose if noone is willing?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Feb 16, 2021

Why is it too much work? If the estate has adequate assets, one of you can petition as PR and hire an estate lawyer to prepare and file all paperwork and even manage the estate bank account, hire one or more others to inventory, sell and clear real property of belongings, hire a CPA to prepare the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Questions about selling an inherited house

I inherited a house in Maryland. The estate is in probate and I'm the executor and sole heir (I will be filling for modified administration). As I understand it, the house can be sold either by the estate or deeded to me first before the sale. For both options, when exactly in the probate... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Feb 6, 2021

You can amend the inventory value based either on the tax assessed value or an appraisal by a certified real estate appraiser (not just a real estate agent doing a valuation—must be a certified appraisal). The tax basis in the Property is fixed as of the date of death regardless of whether the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I am in the probate process currently for my father's estate in Baltimore county. The house my parents resided in

Only had his name on it. His name solely on the mortgage, but home owners insurance both names. He had credit card debt for less than 5 grand. My mom still lives in the home and we are trying to secure it for her. If we pay the credit card debt will this help or hinder the process. We just want the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 27, 2021

If the souse was purchased during the marriage, you can file a corrective deed by presenting the marriage certificate and the death certificate of the title holder and preparing the deed. That's sometimes helpful in keeping the title clean. If she was not married at the time of purchase, the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I received a letter stating that I am an adult heir to my deceased aunt's estate. Her brother my uncle is her representa

I was asked to sign a waiver of personal representative Bond.. how will me signing it affect me and how does it benefit my uncle

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 24, 2021

I need to attach my disclaimer to the bottom of this answer, because there is a teeny tiny chance that this advice will be wrong for you, but in 37 years of practice it hasn't been. I have seen bond called in a case exactly once in those 37 years. Other than that weird time, it is a protection... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: If someone kills their parents & commits suicide & they’re in parents will,does his descendants receive his portion

Would this fall under slayer rule, which would kick him out of the will, therefore his descendants would not inherit his portion?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 19, 2021

It depends on the Survivorship Clause of the Will. The murderer is, of course, excluded, but his heirs are not. If the Will contains a fairly common clause that defines a person as predeceased if they die within 60 days of the testator, then the murderer is considered to have pre-deceased. If the... Read more »

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