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Intestacy Laws in Maryland

Towson Estate Planning Lawyers: Intestacy Laws in MarylandIn Maryland, if a decedent does not have a valid Last Will and Testament (“Will”) admitted into probate then their probate assets are divided according to the laws of intestacy. The laws of intestacy are based on an individual’s blood degree of separation from the decedent. The following is everything that you need to know about how these laws work in Maryland.

Which Assets Pass by Intestate Succession

Intestate succession laws affect only assets that would have passed through the will. Meaning, assets that are not jointly titled or assets that have a beneficiary designation like “transfer-on-death” or “payable-on-death”. Assets that are jointly titled or have a beneficiary designation pass outside of the probate estate. Generally, these assets pass outside of the probate estate:

  • Property that had been transferred to a living trust;
  • Life insurance proceeds;
  • Funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account;
  • Securities held in a transfer-on-death account;
  • Payable-on-death accounts; and
  • Property owned with someone else in joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety, or a life estate deed.

Who Inherits What in Maryland

  • If the decedent was not married at the time of their death, the children will inherit everything;
  • If the decedent was married with no children or parents, the spouse inherits everything;
  • If the decedent was married and had minor children, the spouse inherits one-half of the balance of the probate property and the children inherit the other half, split equally among them;
  • If the person was married with adult children, the spouse inherits $15,000 worth of the intestate property, plus one-half of the balance, and the descendants inherit everything else;
  • If the person was married but did not have children, and one or both of the deceased’s parents are still living, the spouse inherits $15,000 worth of the intestate property, plus one-half of the balance, and the parents inherit everything else;
  • If the person had parents but no spouse or descendants, the parents inherit everything; and
  • If the deceased had siblings but no spouse, descendants, or parents, the siblings inherit everything.

Will the State Get Your Property?

If you die without a will and do not have any family, your property will escheat into the state’s coffers. However, this rarely happens because the laws are designed to assign your property to anyone who is even remotely related to you.

Towson Estate Planning Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jayme L. Levy LLC Offer Guidance in All Matters Related to Wills

If you need help drafting a will, contact a Towson estate planning lawyer at the Law Offices of Jayme L. Levy LLC today. Call 410-512-6605 to schedule a consultation or contact us online. We assist clients in Columbia, Ellicott City, Towson, Baltimore, and throughout Howard County, Maryland.


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