Probate Without a Will in Maryland
Having a valid Maryland will is an essential part of estate planning. Maryland intestate succession laws will determine how to distribute your assets if your estate goes to probate without a will. These laws may or may not reflect your preferences. Executing a valid will allows you, not Maryland, to decide how you want your assets distributed.
If you would like to speak to an estate planning lawyer at Chesapeake Wills and Trusts, feel free to schedule a 15-minute introductory conversation. Our team member will explain the probate process and which of your assets are subject to probate. Then, together we can help you draft a valid Maryland will that divides your assets according to your wishes.
What Property Is Subject to Probate in Maryland?
In Maryland, all property titled only under the decedent’s name is subject to probate. This includes all of the following:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate
- Vehicles, motorcycles, boats
- Any other property titled solely in their name
Some property does not require probate. Instead, it will transfer on death to the designated party. For example, the following property is not subject to probate in Maryland:
- Real estate jointly owned
- Property placed in a trust
- Retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries
- Life Insurance with designated beneficiaries
The estate planning lawyers at Chesapeake Wills and Trusts can help you limit your assets subject to probate to make the process smoother for your heirs.
How Is the Probate Process Different Without a Will
Whether or not you have a will, all probate property will go through the probate process in Maryland. The differences pertain to who names your personal representative and who may inherit your assets. If your estate goes to probate without a will, a judge will appoint your representative, and Maryland intestate succession laws will determine your heirs. Conversely, if you have a valid will, you will name your personal representative and heirs.
Intestate Succession in Maryland
Intestate succession laws exist in every state. These laws aim to facilitate the orderly distribution of assets in the event of a death without a will.
Maryland’s intestate succession laws will disburse the deceased person’s assets as follows:
If the decedent
- Is survived by a spouse but has no children, the spouse will inherit the entire estate.
- Is survived by children but no spouse, the children will inherit in equal shares.
- Is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse receives the first $40,000 and 50% of the estate, and the children split the remaining 50% into equal shares.
If you draft a will, the Maryland intestate laws will not apply. The estate planning team members at Chesapeake Wills and Trusts can help.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Maryland
Going to probate without a will turns your power to determine your heirs over to the state. The estate planning team members at Chesapeake Wills and Trusts can help you understand the probate process and your probate assets, then draft a will that reflects your preferences for the distribution of your estate.