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probate without a will

How Does Probate Work Without a Will in Maryland?

Dying Without a Will: What is Intestate?

Intestate succession refers to the legal framework that determines how an individual’s assets are distributed when they pass away without a will. In Maryland, the intestacy laws prioritize blood relationships, ensuring that surviving family members receive their rightful share of the estate. This process can be intricate, and understanding the priority of heirs is crucial.

In the absence of a will, the court appoints an administrator to oversee the distribution of assets. This individual is typically a close relative, and their responsibilities include identifying assets, paying debts, and distributing the remaining estate according to Maryland’s intestate succession laws.

Who Receives My Assets If I Die Without a Will?

When someone passes away intestate in Maryland, the distribution of assets follows a specific hierarchy. Here’s a breakdown of possible scenarios:

  • Children but no spouse: Assets are divided equally among the children.
  • Spouse but no living parents or children: The spouse inherits the entire estate.
  • Spouse and children who are under 18: The spouse receives half, and the remaining half is divided among the children.
  • Spouse and descendants, but no minor children: The spouse inherits the first $40,000 plus half of the remaining estate, while the descendants receive the remainder.
  • Spouse and living parents, but no descendants: The spouse receives the first $40,000 plus half of the remaining estate, and the parents inherit the rest.
  • Parents but no spouse or descendants: The parents inherit the entire estate.
  • Siblings, but no spouse, descendants, or parents: The siblings equally share the estate.

Which Assets May My Heirs Receive that Don’t Require Probate?

Certain assets bypass the probate process and are directly transferred to heirs. These assets include:

  • Jointly Owned Property: Property owned with rights of survivorship automatically transfers to the surviving co-owner.
  • Assets with Designated Beneficiaries: Assets such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries pass directly to them.
  • Payable-on-Death Accounts: Bank accounts with designated beneficiaries are transferred without probate.

Other Maryland Intestate Succession Scenarios

  • Adopted Children: Adopted children are treated the same as biological children in intestate succession.
  • Foster Children and Stepchildren: Unless legally adopted, foster children and stepchildren have no legal claim to the estate through intestate succession.

Dying With No Will or Family: What is Escheat?

In cases where an individual passes away without a will and has no surviving relatives, their property may escheat to the state of Maryland. Escheat is a legal process that ensures unclaimed property is transferred to the state for administration.

probate with no will - grandparents holding baby

Thinking About Selling a Property in the Estate?

If you’re considering selling a property within an estate that’s subject to intestate succession, you may want to explore alternative methods beyond the traditional route. Yes I Pay Cash, a reputable home buying company, offers homeowners an opportunity to sell their properties quickly and hassle-free.

Benefits of selling to Yes I Pay Cash:

  • Speedy Transactions: Selling to a home buying company can expedite the process, providing you with cash in hand faster than traditional sales.
  • No Repairs Needed: Home buying companies often purchase properties as-is, eliminating the need for costly repairs.
  • Avoiding Traditional Costs: By selling directly, you can avoid agent commissions, closing costs, and other fees associated with traditional real estate transactions.
  • Flexible Terms: Home buying companies often offer flexible terms that can cater to your unique situation.
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Probate Without a Will in MD - Related Questions

Can a non-relative inherit assets through intestate succession in Maryland?

No, Maryland’s intestate succession laws prioritize blood relationships, so only surviving relatives are eligible to inherit assets.

Can a spouse be completely disinherited through intestate succession?

No, a surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of the estate in most scenarios, but the specific amount depends on the presence of other relatives.

Can I challenge the intestate distribution of assets in court?

Challenging intestate succession distribution can be complex, but it’s possible under certain circumstances if you can provide evidence that the distribution is unfair or inaccurate.

Can I sell a property during the probate process?

Yes, but selling a property during probate can be time-consuming and involve legal procedures. Exploring options like selling to a home buying company might provide a faster alternative.

Is the administrator of the estate compensated for their role?

Yes, the administrator is typically entitled to compensation, which is determined by Maryland law and the complexity of the estate’s administration.

dying with no will - woman holding elderly loved one

Bottom Line: Understanding Probate Without a Will in Maryland

Understanding how probate works without a will in Maryland is crucial for both individuals seeking to plan their estates and those who may inherit assets through intestate succession. Maryland’s laws prioritize familial relationships in distributing assets, and considering alternative methods of selling property can provide quicker solutions for both heirs and those looking to sell.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. Please consult with professionals for advice specific to your situation.

If you need to sell a house in probate in Maryland, contact Yes I Pay Cash today. We buy houses all throughout Maryland. You can reach us at (443) 200-4882 to get a fair cash offer or fill out the form below.

Helpful Maryland Estate, Probate and Inheritance Resources

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Tariq Thomas

Tariq Thomas

Tariq Thomas, has been a full-time real estate investor since 2002 and has personally flipped hundreds of properties. He is the founder and owner of Yes I Pay Cash - We Buy Houses. Tariq's goal is to help home sellers find the best solution for their real estate needs, whether that's selling their home quickly, getting top dollar, or avoiding the hassle of a traditional home sale.

Additional Resources For Maryland Home Sellers and Home Buyers