Maryland Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: In Maryland, our mother died intestate. My brother and I are co-representative of estate. How to resolve disagreement ?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jan 10, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
Get counsel. File petition to list and sell house in the form of Sale in Lieu of Partition.

Q: can the guardian of a living disabled adult (senior citizen) re-write a properly executed will?

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 19, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
No. But a guardian may be able to make other estate planning decisions, including establishing a trust in the name of their ward and funding it, with distribution of the trust assets upon death being set forth in the trust. You should not do anything without first consulting with experienced estate planning counsel, as guardians owe fiduciary duties to their ward and can run afoul of both civil and criminal statutes if they do not act solely in the best interest of their ward.

Q: What happens to my foreign bank accounts if I die in America without a valid will?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 7, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
If you are domiciled in Maryland at the time of your death, die without a will and an estate is opened up here, your probate property passes under the laws of intestate succession. Who gets the probate property and in what percentage depends on what relatives survive you.

Some property goes to beneficiaries by title and would not become a part of a probate estate. So it would be important to know how any bank accounts were titled. If the bank accounts had a beneficiary, presumably...

Q: who pays inheritance tax/

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Nov 14, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
Only the decedent's spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or descendant of the decedent's child (or their surviving spouse) qualify for the exemption from Maryland's state inheritance tax of 10% ("lineal" relatives). First cousin is not "lineal" does not meet the exemption. However, certain assets are not subject to the state inheritance tax, such as receipt of an annuity or other payment under a public or private employees' pension or benefit plan if the annuity or other payment is not taxable...

Q: As the sole beneficiary of father's estate, can I use the estate's money for non-estate reasons while still in probate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Nov 3, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
Once you have filed the petition for probate, received your Letters, and have filed the Inventory, you can do an advance to the heirs. Since you are the only heir, that would mean you. But, you will be responsible if your advance exceeds the available resources of the Estate after payment of Creditors. If the payments are legitimate debts of the estate in your judgment as personal representative, you can also pay such legitimate debts, though self-dealing to escape creditors may make you, as...

Q: What is a family limited partnership and how would it relate to my estate planning strategy?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Oct 20, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
It’s simply a vehicle to hold assets coupled with an agreement on how to manage and distribute the assets given various scenarios. It is not typically part of an estate plan for most people, as there are usually far better methods. As far as how any particular strategy best relates to your situation, that can only be answered after a consultation with a lawyer and going over your goals, financial situation and what you want to see happen with your assets. There are many issues you will want...

Q: My dad died and had a wife. Can she take everything from the kids if they're not her biological kids but are his.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Oct 20, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
She can only claim $15,000 plus 50% of everything else. The rest goes to his children in equal shares. However, any assets that were jointly titled may go 100% to the surviving owner. That includes real estate, financial accounts, etc. Also, assets like 401Ks, IRA accounts, etc., have named beneficiaries who will take the assets outside of the estate. The only assets in a person’s estate for distribution are those the person dies owning solely in their name, and which have no beneficiary...

Q: I have an adult daughter receiving SSI disability.Her name is on my utility bills, bank accounts, etc., as I want her to

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Social Security and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Sep 23, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
She should not have any assets in her name or jointly with yours. You should establish a special needs trust to hold any assets you leave her in your will. That will protect the assets from disqualifying her from her benefits, while at the same time preserving the assets for her benefit and needs.

Q: How do I write up a Bussiness trust 12-2004

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Business Formation and Business Law for Maryland on
Answered on Sep 19, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
The first question any business attorney will likely ask is: what are you looking to accomplish? A business trust is an old but relatively unusual way to conduct business, except perhaps in the case of real estate held in a grantor's revocable living trust. The question doesn't give any facts as to why an "unincorporated business trust" is desired. Most attorneys would ask whether the Grantor determined the tax liability for conducting a business in a trust vs. through a standard or...

Q: How would I find real property ie. real Estate on the Maryland probate search website? it is a little confusing

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
To find real estate in Maryland, one typically searches land records, not probate records. Probate searches will show what probate estates have been opened.

There is no way to search for what is in a particular estate (whether real estate or otherwise) without going into each estate's file and reviewing the inventories. And one cannot do that without physically going to the courthouse and/or ordering and paying for selected docket entries. But without understanding the basics it...

Q: Can the estate in probate make mortgage payments for the joint tenant/spouse?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 31, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
While it is best to have a lawyer look over the Will, if any, and examine the situation, as a general matter, if all of the potential beneficiaries agree, there is nobody available to complain. If you have available assets and wish to pay off the mortgage so you can change the title, I'm not sure why you'd wait until after probate. Is it that you are living in the house that is now titled to your father, and he doesn't object to your paying it off and keeping it in his name until death? That...

Q: My son and daughter were named in a trust from a friend as beneficiaries. My son's name is correct but they have a

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 29, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
A minor typo might be overlooked when all other indicators point to a known person but a name "not in [the] family at all" most likely will need a court order to rule that the benefits go to the person believed to be the intended beneficiary.

While not legal advice, I hope this general information helps. You and/or the Trustee may want to seek legal counsel from a local attorney who practices estate/trust law.

Q: Brother of deceased passed away during probate in Maryland. What happens to the property assets he was Willed?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 17, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
The estate of the recently deceased brother receives his share. So, the heirs or legatees of the recently deceased brother will get his inheritance.

Q: Can the estate administrator complete a deed in lieu of foreclosure? Is an appraisal required?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 15, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
If there is little or no equity in estate owned property and the lender is willing to accept a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, then yes, a Personal Representative has authority to sign such a deed. Whether or not a deed in lieu can be done depends on the willingness of a lender.

Note that if heirs are willing to take over the mortgage they may be able to instead assume the loan.

Please understand that the above offers general legal information and does not take into account any...

Q: If I die and have assets, plus two children, do all of my assets automatically get split 50-50 between them?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 14, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
So long as you are not married at the time of death, yes, your two children split equally your estate assets. However, the probate process is simpler with a will. In addition, you need to review how your assets are titled and whether you have named beneficiaries (pay on death or otherwise) on any titled assets. These include bank accounts, retirement assets (IRA’s, 401Ks, etc.), and real estate. Those assets would pass directly to any joint owner or beneficiary and will not go through your...

Q: Does a mortgage follow inheritance in PR and can you disclaim an inheritance in PR?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Jul 24, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
Signing as debtors makes them obligated on the loan. The rest of your question is confusing, because I think you are confused as to terms and concepts. If the property is owned solely by your uncle, which it would be if the property was titled as joint tenants with right of survivorship with your grandparents when they died, then upon his death the property would distribute to the persons named in his will (or heirs at law if he has no will), and those persons would take the property "subject...

Q: Hello, I read that in Maryland there are no "Self Proving Affidavits" for last wills. What form can be used instead...

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jul 16, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
A properly signed and witnessed will is all you need. Maryland does not require witnesses to appear to verify the will. The only time witnesses might be needed is if someone challenged the will, but the burden is on the challenger to prove the will maker was mentally incompetent or subjected to coercion. A so-called self-proving will can also be challenged this way.

Q: I inherited a property with my mother living there, i want to live there and she wants to remarry and stay... ?...

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Jun 16, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
You’ll need to take the will and trust language to a lawyer to review. If your mother was granted a life estate in the house, then she can live there and have a live-in boyfriend. If something less than a life estate, it will depend on the language, but generally if there’s no prohibition then she probably is free to have him there. It may be that she does not have exclusive rights to the house, such that you and your family could move in. If that’s the case, it’s whomever gets fed up...

Q: When someone passes away, what do you do with the will?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Jun 12, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
You take it to the Register of Wills Office in the circuit court of the county where the person resided at the time of death. Generally, an estate is opened and any assets will be distributed in accordance with the will, by the personal representative/executor appointed under the will. The PR accounts to the court for all that the PR does. There are forms available at the Register of Wills and specialists who will meet with you to help you fill out the forms and do all the things necessary...

Q: father died. Will said house goes to ex-GF and everything else to me. GF said will sent to probate but still no proof

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on May 15, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
You should retain counsel to file a probate petition. Filing the Will is merely a first step. And, yes, I’m the meantime, she might be committing all sorts of frauds.

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