Dividing a Montgomery County Estate Without a Will
In cases where a loved one has passed away without the creation of a Will, it may prove difficult to properly divide their estate amongst surviving family members. In Montgomery County, and throughout the entire state of Maryland, there are specific laws for this situation. Contact an experienced attorney to learn more about the laws on dividing a Montgomery County estate without a will and how they could be applicable to your case.
Problems a Lack of a Will may Present
When a person has a Will, their wishes are always more defined and clearly laid out. However, the laws of intestacy in Maryland are also straightforward and very clear as to who is entitled to what portion of an estate when a person dies. The primary difference is that the laws of intestacy may not mirror what would have been the wishes of the decedent had they died with a Last Will and Testament.
It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney in order to determine who those people are and how much of the estate are they entitled to, because the Personal Representative has the fiduciary obligation to ensure that the Estate is properly administered, and that person should make sure they are administering the Estate properly according to the laws of Maryland.
What is Intestacy in Montgomery County and How Does it Work?
The laws of intestacy are a default set of laws that provide for the administration of a decedent’s estate when he or she has not expressed his or her wishes using a Last Will and Testament. The laws of intestacy provide for a priority of appointment of the Personal Representative and the heirs of the estate. A common misconception is that the laws of intestacy are based on the quality of a relationship with the decedent. This is not the case, rather, the laws of intestacy are based on lineal bloodlines.
In Maryland, there is no priority given for first-born children, versus second or third children or quality of the relationship. For example, a decedent may have three children, only one of which he maintains a relationship with. All three children would be entitled to inherit equally regardless of the fact that two of the three children maintained no communication with their father.
Distribution of Assets Amongst Children in Montgomery County
If a child is a minor, their portion of the estate would have to be held in a trust until they reach the age of majority if a trust was provided for in a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Alternatively, where an individual has not completed estate planning prior to death, a guardian would have to be appointed to manage the assets on behalf of the minor until the minor reached the age of majority.
In terms of the fraction of a person’s intestate estate when they have children can depend on other family circumstances. For example, if a person dies and is not married and has living children, living parents, and living brothers and sisters, the entire estate would go to the children in equal shares. If the person died and they had a spouse and no children and parents, then the entire estate would go to the person’s spouse. It gets a little bit more complicated when a person dies leaving behind a spouse and children. In that situation, the spouse would be entitled to one-half of the estate and then the children would all share the remaining portion of the estate.
Dividing an Estate with a Surviving Spouse and no Other Dependents or Parents
If there was a surviving spouse and no dependents or parents, then the surviving spouse would get the entire estate. However, if there was a surviving spouse and a surviving child (who is also a child of the surviving spouse), then the spouse would get one-half of the estate and the child would get the other half of the estate. For more information, get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney.
Contacting a Montgomery County Wills Attorney
When a loved one passes away without leaving behind a Will, it is up to the state of Maryland to figure out how to divide the estate of the deceased. However, this should not be done without speaking with an attorney first. A lawyer can explain how the process of dividing a Montgomery County estate without a Will works and how they could be of assistance. Take the time to schedule a consultation with a compassionate and skilled lawyer today.