Maryland Intestacy laws

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Amenta Law Firm

An Estate Planning & Elder Law Practice

An Estate Planning & Elder Law Practice

Phone: 443.677.2364​​

Email: sdamenta@amentalaw.com



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Estate Planning Questions and Answers

When someone dies without a will, that means he or she has died “intestate.” The person who has died is the "decedent." Maryland law decides who will inherit property from someone who dies intestate. Maryland law also sets out a priority of who inherits property first and the percentage of the decedent’s property each person has the right to inherit. Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–101


Even when a decedent dies with a will, the people who would have been that decedent’s heirs under Maryland intestacy law are entitled to notice of any activity in the estate, including distributions, to allow them to address legitimate objections and concerns. Examples of legitimate objections and concerns include as challenging a will that is fraudulent or invalid and removing a personal representative failing to meet his or her duties.
 
If there is no valid will, the personal representative must distribute the property according to Maryland intestacy law. The personal representative is not guaranteed to take any of the decedent’s property, but is entitled to reasonable compensation. However, if the personal representative is administering a small estate, s/he is not entitled to compensation for his or her work.
 
Read the law: MD Code Estates and Trusts §7–601
Read the law: MD Code Estates and Trusts §5–604

Overview of Maryland Intestacy Law:
If the Decedent has children but no spouse: 
         ​Children inherit everything. Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–103

If the Decedent has spouse but no living parents or children: 
         Spouse inherits everything.Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–102(e)
 
If the Decedent has spouse and children who are minors (under 18):
         Spouse inherits ½ of intestate property; and
         Children inherit everything else.Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–102(b)
 
If the Decedent has spouse and descendants, but no minor children:
        Spouse inherits $15,000 of intestate property and ½ of the rest; and
        Descendants inherit everything else.Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–102(c)
 
If the Decedent has spouse and living parents but no descendants:
        Spouse inherits $15,000 of intestate property and ½ of the rest; and
        Parents inherit everything else.Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–102(d)
 
If the Decedent has parents but no spouse or descendants: 
        Parents inherit everything. Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–104
 
If the Decedent has siblings, but no spouse, descendants, or parents: 
         Siblings inherit everything. Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–104

 
Other Facts about Intestacy Law in Maryland:

Adopted children receive an intestate share as if they are biological children. Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §1–207

Foster children and stepchildren do not receive an automatic share. Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §1–205(b)

If the decedent does not have a will or any family, the property will go to (“escheat” to) the state. This means that this property will go to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or the county board of education in the county where the decedent was domiciled.Read the law: MD Code, Estates and Trusts §3–105