Maryland Probate Questions & Answers

Q: Upon death of disabled person who outranks who the guardian or the executor/per. Rep?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
The guardianship or any power of attorney ceases to exist when the ward or principal dies. There is no outranking, because the sole remaining duty of the guardian is to account to the PR or the court.

Q: In Maryland, it appears that witnesses to a will must appear to verify a will in probate. However, must they be found?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 15, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
Proper attestation creates a presumption of authenticity, so it will usually be adequate in an uncontested probate. Beyond that, retaining a lawyer, whose fees are subject to review by the court and who is paid from the assets of the estate, is a good idea.

Q: In Maryland if there is no will and the estate representative doesn’t sell the home of the deceased in the allotted time

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 13, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
What!? Get a lawyer. Find out why the state is selling the property. Intestacy has nothing to do with it. If there is an open probate and an appointed personal representative (PR), we need to ask why they have decided to forfeit the property. Is it "underwater" with the mortgage debt and taxes? Is the PR doing something dishonest? If it isn't an unredeemed tax sale that's too late, reopen the estate and sell the property. Have a lawyer review the actions if the PR to determine whether you need...

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: Need help getting my 21 yr. old daughter access to her title 13 bank account established for her as a minor.

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 28, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
Maryland Estates & Trusts Code, Sections 13-405(a) (applicable to funds recovered in personal injury/tort claims) and 13-501(b) (applicable in all other scenarios), both provide that full payment may be made to the minor child upon attainment of 18 years of age, without a court order. A court order is only required if funds are paid before the child reached 18 years of age. You may look up the two statutes and print them out and show them to the bank, and demand that the bank contact their...

Q: My father and mother died three months apart. I am the sole heir and my name has been on all accounts for years.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Dec 26, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
Call the Register of Wills in the county where your father resided at the time of his death. You will have to open a small estate, file his original will, and be issued Letters of Administration to act as Personal Representative of his estate. You can then execute checks, documents, etc. and receive assets of his for distribution.

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: My adult brother has passed, our mother paid to have an apartment over his detached garage built. ($108K). 1 month later

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Oct 19, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
There are multiple potential arguments, but you need to review all of the facts with a competent attorney. Some interesting issues to explore include whether there was a lease arising from the written communications of your mother and your brother; whether the development has unjustly enriched the estate; and whether there was an agreement that defined the work and the benefit to your mother. There may be other potential issues in elder abuse, but that sounds unlikely from the facts as...

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: Hello In Maryland does the Bonding Agency require that an attorney be listed? If so can the attorney be out of state

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 29, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
1) Most of the time bond companies (at least those issuing fiduciary bonds in Maryland) consider a Personal Representative who is represented by an attorney to be a lower risk. That is because the bonding company expects the attorney to already know the rules and to handle the estate in accordance with the law. Some bonding companies may not issue a bond to a person who is trying to navigate without legal counsel, or they may require more underwriting.

2) An out-of-state attorney who...

Q: In Md, if a house is put in Trust, must it go through Probate?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Aug 20, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
Property in a trust does not go through probate, but before you move your home into a trust, you might want to sit down and discuss your situation with a lawyer. Probate administration was massively simplified starting in the mid'1980's, and yet charlatans continue on the lecture circuit telling people that the objective of their estate planning should be to avoid probate. It isn't so for most people, though using a trust or a POD account and beneficiaries can be convenient and simple for...

Q: HELLO, I have a question about my deceased dads handling of his will and moneys.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Jul 31, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
Five years is a very long time for you to first to wake up. Your chances are poor, but the statute of limitations has exceptions, and it is even possible that the statute hasn’t run if the estate was filed recently. The only way to know is to pay a lawyer to review it.

Reading an answer on the Internet does not create an attorney-client relationship. You are represented by me when we have both signed a retainer agreement (on paper or electronically) and some money has changed hands....

Q: My mom passed I am her pr her home that I live in has a mortgage that has her and her ex husband 03 names what do I do

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on May 16, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
You need to have a lawyer review the deed, the will, and any divorce judgment and separation agreement between your mother and ex-husband.

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.

Q: In the state of md When a beneficiary of will dies after the maker of the will , who inherits from the beneficiary

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on May 8, 2018
Mark Oakley's answer
Unfortunately, it is impossible to provide an answer without more details and facts. Consult with a lawyer who can review the will, the dates of death of the maker of the will and the beneficiary, and the beneficiary’s will, if any.

Q: do you still need an atty when spouse passes away leaves surviving spouse everything & jointly own home & bank accts?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 22, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
If everything was planned perfectly, so that you don’t need to file a probate, there might be no need for counsel. Even if there are small omissions, the surviving spouse might do just fine handling the estate pro se. If they need to evaluate the work to be done, a simple one -hour consult with counsel might send them on their way. Most Register of Wills offices are set up to help in small or simple estates.

Reading an answer on the Internet does not create an attorney-client...

Q: What can grandchildren do if the grandfather passes and the other grandchildren received money but no will is filed

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 10, 2018
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
A probate estate is a matter of public record, so the first place to start would be taking a look at the estate filings.

Keep in mind that some property might pass to family outside of the estate and the law does not require that people give away property equally in their Will or for assets passing by title designation. However, where someone dies without a Will, anything that does not pass by title should get distributed under the laws of intestate succession.


Q: My husband passed away. My name is on the deed, not the mortgage. What do I need to do to get the mortgage in my name?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 9, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
You can ask the bank to novate the loan, but there is alway a chance that they will call the loan if the party to whom they lent the money no longer owns the house. Most lenders will work with widows to keep from losing the house, but that isn't guaranteed. If your credit is really bad or you miss payments, they may be unable to change the loan. These days, mortgage loans are usually held by different people than service them; the loan servicer may have no choice about helping you. If so, you...

Q: A house owned by a deceased parent and 4 siblings on the deed with one sibling refusing to sign off on the sale.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Probate and Small Claims for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 31, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
Virginia law is express about charging the legal fees for a petition for sale in lieu of partition to the cost of sale borne by all co-owners. I have gotten Maryland courts to award that as well, but it is fact-specific. Consult your lawyer about whether it is worth the legal cost of pursing reimbursement of legal fees.

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