Maryland Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: Do you still go by a will if a spouse elects against the estate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 5, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You really need counsel if a spouse elects against the Will, but, generally, spousal share trumps the Will as to the spouse, who takes only through the election, and the rest and remainder goes according to the Will. The computation sometimes get hairy.

Q: My father, no will & my grandmother went before him, no will. There r only 3 blood relative my Aunt Amy brother and me

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 17, 2019
Cheryl Sellers Johnson's answer
I am sorry to hear about the passing of your father and grandmother. You have presented some bare facts but not really a question. If your grandmother and father had valid Wills, their estates would be distributed according to the provisions of their Wills. If neither had a Will, just based on what you stated, it appears that you would be entitled to an inheritance. I would be able to answer more fully if I knew where your father and grandmother lived when they passed and whether they had...

Q: I need representation for probate of my mother's estate. I need someone who deals with special needs trusts

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Arbitration / Mediation Law, Civil Rights and Social Security for Maryland on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Mark Oakley's answer
Try to find a lawyer in the jurisdiction where the estate is filed, for convenience. Most estate lawyers understand special needs trusts. You cannot solicit (and attorneys cannot solicit) business on this site per the site rules. You can, however, call lawyers who answer questions on this site, and discuss your case, or use the search function for locating a lawyer in your area to call. Then you can make arrangements to meet with and hire a lawyer.

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: what is the proper written code for a quit claim deed from father to daughter for tax exemptions

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jan 10, 2019
Mark Oakley's answer
The recording office of the county where you file will know and allow you to fill in the cited section that applies. They are the authority who has to approve whether you have a tax exempt transfer. However, the list of exempt transactions generally appears in the Maryland Tax-Property Article, Section 13-207, and the provision having to do with exempt transfers between a parent and a child is found in Section 12-108(c)--but the latter exemption only applies to the portion of any principal...

Q: I am a trustee on a property that's in pre foreclosure. I would like to buy the home. Trust doc says we can buy and sell

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Foreclosure and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 28, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
Your facts are dripping in self-dealing and breach of fiduciary duties, and the claim that one trustee stole funds while the other stole the property are just oozing from your question. The notion that trust instructions give you the power to buy and sell does not mean that you can buy and sell to your own account. You *desperately* need to review the facts privately with a lawyer, and you are flat out nuts if you provide any more facts on an open web forum.

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 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...

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.