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Maryland Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I was the PR for my father's estate and I closed out the account about 5 years ago when I thought I had accounted for

everything, however, I found a claim in MD via the unclaimed property unit. I received a check made payable to the estate of my father care of me (the PR). How can I cash that check so I can pay the distributees? Check is for $102.86

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 15, 2019

I know of no way to do it other than reopening the estate. It isn't hard, but it means filing a new accounting, and that certainly isn't worth the effort using a lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: How do we handle a case involving a trust fund in Maryland while we are living in another state?

My wife's brother administers her trust fund in Maryland, but we live in another state from him. Recently, she feels he is not administering it properly and that we need legal assistance. Her brother has stated that the trust fund will not pay for a lawyer if we do. The fund is her only income at... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 10, 2019

If you hire a lawyer and succeed in getting a court to replace her as trustee, at that time the trust will most likely have the right and ability to reimburse you for your attorney fees. But if you lose, you bear the expense.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: I have 2 text messages from my deceased spouse saying I can have the house, Can I submit this to the court.

He died without a will and now I need to pay his adult children he had before we married, becasue oft he value of the home. My name is not on the deed. I am in Maryland

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 20, 2019

You should sit down with a lawyer to review the estate and your rights. While a text is not a Will, and it will not be binding, you have certain rights as the spouse.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My mom and stepdad were never married but purchased a home in both names with rights to survivors , mom dies, he never

Goes through probate so both names are still on deed. He’s getting remarried, the house was always to go to us kids if something happens to him. Is this new marriage going to change this?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Aug 12, 2019

By law, the house is solely his, regardless of whether he retitles it into his sole name. If he dies without a will, his stepchildren (unless legally adopted) will not inherit any part of his estate. The only way you as stepchildren can inherit property of his estate is if he drafts a will and... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: What if a person doesn’t go through probate, does the property go to the decendents
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 12, 2019

Probate IS the process by which property of a decedent is retitled.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My father left a will when He passed away I was 5 and it says that my mom and I are on the deed.

I’m from GlenBurnie Md and In my fathers will he left the house to my mom and me so I guess her and then it goes to me when she passes??? If my name is on the deed can I live in that house with my wife and children without being thrown out now sense I’m 41 and technically it’s part my house????

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 20, 2019

A lawyer would have to look at your grandfather’s will to ascertain how the house was to be distributed to you and your mom, as well as review the deed to the house to see whether it was titled in accordance with your grandfather’s will. Assuming that your name is on the deed together with your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: If a non custodial parent dies and he has a spouse how can I find out if there is an estate if child support is owed?
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Jul 12, 2019

Probate estates are opened in the jurisdiction where the deceased person died. You can find out whether an estate has been opened by contacting the Register of Wills (or going to the Register of Wills' website and performing a search with the deceased person's name).

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: My blood sister recently passed away intestate. Would I be able to assume her mortgage?

I live in Maryland so I know I would need to go through probate court. Our parents are deceased and she had no children. If granted by the judge would the lender just let me assume the mortgage or would the check my credit and make me refinance. I really want the house to stay in the family but I... Read more »

Brian Robert Gormley
Brian Robert Gormley answered on May 7, 2019

Actually, you would not need to assume the mortgage. There is a federal law called Garn St. Germain that allows you to retain the property as an inheritance without the lender accelerating the debt under its due on sale clause or performing any other underwriting. Obviously, each estate is fact... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: In Maryland, can a trust contain the power/authority to hold $150,000 from the beneficiaries indefinitely?

150,000 is to provide funding to place flowers on three gravesites two times each year.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 27, 2019

You probably ought to pay someone to review the actual trust, because some trust purposes can be undercut by the beneficiaries due to changes circumstances, but there is nothing fundamentally problematic with a trust holding property perpetually. A grant of property must resolve title within 21... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: My husband passed away, no will. He was the sole owner on the house and one vehicle. Will I be forced to sell home

Husband has credit card debt. There are no cash assets as all bank accounts were jointly owned.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 20, 2019

When someone dies without a will, the laws of intestate succession apply. Depending on what other family they leave behind, property may have to be split with the children or parents of the person who died. Generally the person handling the estate will want to wait before paying credit card... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: Upon death of disabled person who outranks who the guardian or the executor/per. Rep?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 18, 2019

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.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: In Maryland, it appears that witnesses to a will must appear to verify a will in probate. However, must they be found?

Must witnesses to a will be found and accounted for in any way in an uncontested probate? What about a self proving will? Must the witness's verifying statement be sworn before a notary? What if only one of the witnesses is alive and can be found?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 15, 2019

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.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: In Maryland if there is no will and the estate representative doesn’t sell the home of the deceased in the allotted time

And the state takes over and puts it up for auction, does the state have to sell it at the appraised amount? There are no taxes owed , however because of other heirs Maryland State allows a certain length of time to sell and distribute all monies .

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 13, 2019

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... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Do you still go by a will if a spouse elects against the estate?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 5, 2019

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Need help getting my 21 yr. old daughter access to her title 13 bank account established for her as a minor.

From a dog bite attack at the age of 3 my daughter has funds in a Title 13 account in a local bank. She is now 21 years old and wants access to the money. The bank is refusing to let her have it, stating she needs a court order to do so. What can we do to prove there is no court order needed?... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Dec 28, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: My father and mother died three months apart. I am the sole heir and my name has been on all accounts for years.

Is there a law in MD that requires filing wills? The MD State Retirement System will not release the $2200, owed from dad's final pension, to my mother's estate/me, without a Letter of Administration from the court. I live in another state and this is extremely difficult for me to do. I already... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Dec 26, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: As the sole beneficiary of father's estate, can I use the estate's money for non-estate reasons while still in probate?

I am the sole beneficiary and executor of my father's estate. Home was placed in a trust but his bank accounts were not and money (approx. $400,000) is now in the estate account. At the time of his death he had no debt. Prior to his death, we needed to do major updates to or home in order for him... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 3, 2018

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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: My adult brother has passed, our mother paid to have an apartment over his detached garage built. ($108K). 1 month later

My brothers wife is telling my mom she has to move. (age 75) Can she go after her cost for building her home in probate?

Agreement was witnessed by mother, father, myself and brother. Only my mother and myself alive. She would be able to live there until her death or my brother sold and... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 19, 2018

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... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: How would I find real property ie. real Estate on the Maryland probate search website? it is a little confusing

Also is there a way to filter out the probates that do not have real estate attached to them? Thank you!

here is the link i am using:

https://registers.maryland.gov/RowNetWeb/Estates/frmEstateSearch2.aspx

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Sep 18, 2018

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...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can the estate in probate make mortgage payments for the joint tenant/spouse?

My mother passed unexpectedly a few months ago. She'd been separated from my father for over a decade but they were still legally married when she passed and he is also on the mortgage and now has full ownership of the house. My father lives out of state, I don't. We would like to keep the house in... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 31, 2018

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... Read more »

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