No Will Can Mean Big Headaches in Maryland

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Intestate means no last will and testament made. Image courtesy of Ostrom Morris

Inheriting a property may be a music to one’s ear. While inheritance do always have to deal with taxes and whatnot, but in general, it is a “sought after” moment. The value, both monetary and sentimental, are always the thing. But what if one died without a will? Who gets what?

Unlike most European estates, specially those connected with titles, they follow centuries-old tradition that estates generally go directly to the next heir, mostly the eldest son or in rare cases, eldest child, or could even go to a very distant relative if needed, bypassing more closer relations. But in the US, things are different. Properties are handed based on the last will of the deceased. But what if someone died intestate– without a last will and testament? Each states slightly differ in laws regarding this.

If you have inherited a house in Maryland and need to sell it, check out these home buying services: https://www.dependablehomebuyers.com/maryland/

Julie Garber, in her article for The Balance, discussed how to handle a death of someone with a will.

Deceased Person is Survived by a Spouse and/or Descendants and/or Parents

Here is what will happen under the Maryland intestacy laws if the deceased person is survived by a spouse and/or descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) and/or parents:

  • Survived by a spouse and one or more children, none of whom are minors – In this case the surviving spouse will inherit the first $15,000 of the probate estate and the balance will be distributed one-half (1/2) to the surviving spouse and one-half (1/2) to the deceased person’s children, per stirpes.
  • Survived by a spouse and no descendants or parents – In this case, the surviving spouse will inherit the deceased spouse’s entire probate estate.
  • Survived by a spouse and parent or parents and no descendants – In this case the surviving spouse will inherit the first $15,000 of the probate estate and the balance will be distributed one-half (1/2) to the surviving spouse and one-fourth (1/4) to each parent if both are living or one-half (1/2) to the only surviving parent.
  • Survived by descendants and no spouse – In this case, the deceased person’s descendants will inherit the entire probate estate, per stirpes.
  • Survived by a parent or parents and no spouse or descendants – In this case, the deceased person’s parents will inherit the probate estate in equal shares if both are living or the entire probate estate will go to the only surviving parent.

Deceased Person is Not Survived by a Spouse, Descendants, or Parents

Here is what will happen under the Maryland intestacy laws if the deceased person is not survived by a spouse, any descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) or his or her parents:

  • Survived by brothers and/or sisters or descendants of deceased brothers and/or sisters – In this case, the deceased person’s brothers and/or sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and/or sisters (nieces and nephews) will inherit the entire of the probate estate, per stirpes.
  • Not survived by brothers, sisters, or descendants of brothers or sisters – In this case the probate estate will be divided so that one-half (1/2) will go to the deceased person’s paternal family and the other half (1/2) will go to the deceased person’s maternal family; provided that if there are no survivors on the paternal side of the family or no survivors on the maternal side of the family, then the entire probate estate will go to the other side of the deceased person’s family.
  • Not survived by any family members – In the unlikely circumstance that the deceased person is not survived by any family members as described above, then the entire probate estate will escheat to the State of Maryland.

So what would you inherit from an intestate estate in Maryland?

When a Maryland resident dies without having made a ​Last Will and Testament, the intestacy succession laws found in the Estates & Trusts Chapter of the Maryland Code will dictate who inherits the deceased person’s probate estate.

So exactly what will you inherit if your relative dies without leaving a Last Will and Testament and the relative was a resident of Maryland or owned real estate located in Maryland? Even if you determine based on the information presented above that you are entitled to an intestate share of your relative’s estate, you may very well not inherit anything. Why? Because your relative may have left all non-probate property or the debts your relative owed at the time of death may exceed the value of the probate estate which will make the estate insolvent. Full article here.

That being said, inheriting a property is already a laborious process, how more could an intestate one? Well, a solution could be dealing with your elderly and check if a will is already made or in case of a sudden death, then it is better to just sold property and divide the proceeds after tax. Whatever ways you may have, Dependable Homebuyers can help you sell your house before anything is too late!

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