McEvoy Law

Frederick Maryland Law Blog

Who gets what when a Maryland resident dies without a will?

Many individuals sit down to draft their wills as they get older and see some of their friends pass away, divorce or pay off their mortgages. Countless others die prematurely, experience a sudden decline in their health or think that they're of means enough to warrant them drafting a will. It's because of situations like the latter that intestate succession laws are in place.

If you're not sure what intestate succession laws are, then you're not alone. Many Maryland executors only apprise themselves of them when they're tasked with administering a decedent's estate.

What happens if an executor doesn't file a will with the court?

An executor of an estate must generally step in and file an individual's will with the county probate court when a testator dies. An executor only has a set number of days to do this after a testator's death. The decedent's personal representative may face both civil and criminal penalties if they fail to do this in a timely fashion.

A will must generally be filed to open up the probate case. The amount of time that the testator has to file such a case may be as short as 30 days or as long as 90 days. It's the personal representative's responsibility to check with the probate court to find out how long they have to do this. They'll generally need to acquire and file a death certificate when opening up the probate case.

How do Maryland probate judges validate a will?

If you've ever lost someone close to you, then you've probably heard of the probate court. What you may not know unless you've served as their personal representative is what exactly that court is responsible for doing. One of its primary responsibilities is to supervise the multi-faceted probate process. It sounds easier than it is. There's a lot that goes into this. One of the court's first responsibilities is validating a decedent's will.

It's the responsibility of the executor of a Maryland resident's estate to file the decedent's will with the probate court in the county in which they last resided. The clerk of court will generally require that the personal representative file the decedent's death certificate at the same time.

How can you handle a breach of contract by a home buyer?

Buying and selling real estate is complicated even under the best of circumstances. Because there are so many variables involved, an issue could come up during any part of the deal that could cause it to fall through. Of course, the possibility also exists that a buyer could breach the real estate contract and leave you, as the seller, wondering what to do.

Fortunately, multiple options exist for handling this type of ordeal. They can range from relatively simple, but not entirely beneficial for you, to more complex, which means it will take some effort on your part to seek compensation for damages resulting from the breach. As a result, it is important that you understand your available courses of action in such an event. 

The early stages of starting a business

Having entrepreneurial dreams can be complicated. Though you and many other Maryland residents may want to start your own businesses, it can be difficult to actually get the process underway. After all, a number of details need considering before you can even start tangible steps toward starting a business.

You may feel that you have reached a point in your personal life or career journey at which you want to head out on your own professionally. As a result, you think that starting your own company could be the way to achieve the fulfillment and satisfaction you desire. Where do you start?

Take tax-saving estate planning advice from the wealthy

The famed business investor Warren Buffet once remarked about the increasingly widening gap that has been emerging between American's rich and poor during the past few years. He once argued that this gap is only getting bigger because wealthy families are finding new ways to pass on their assets to their heirs using increasingly tax-saving approaches. Trusts are a key aspect of this.

Trusts were created as an instrument that individuals could drop their assets into to preserve their value for future generations. There's so much more to trusts though.

What should you do with your estate documents when you divorce?

If there's one recommendation that people make about estate planning, it's that no one should put it off. If you've already planned your estate but now you're preparing to divorce, there's no time like the present to schedule an appointment with your estate planning attorney to discuss changes that you should make to your documents.

Individuals who have medical directives or living wills in place likely have their husbands or wives listed as the person who can step in and voice their medical preferences on their behalf. If this is the case with you, then you may wish to update these documents with the name of someone else that you can trust to be your medical advocate unless you and your soon-to-be ex are on particularly good terms with one another.

Common misconceptions about wills and the probate process

Only 40% of Americans have taken time to sit down and draft a will. Researchers have found that warnings that all adults should have wills in place have often reached the other 60% of the adult population. The only problem is that many of the individuals that this message reaches are misinformed about what happens if they die without a will. Changing their perspectives isn't an easy feat.

Many individuals assume that their titled property such as their home will automatically pass to their spouse or other co-owner when they die regardless of whether there's a will in place or not. While this often happens if spouses or parents and their adult children took the time to add the appropriate names to the deed or to draft certain legal documents, it doesn't necessarily happen automatically.

Beneficiaries and heirs aren't the same thing

Heirs tend to line up when a testator, or will writer, dies. They do so because they want to be first in line to receive what they expect has been left to them in their loved one's will. Is that necessary though?

Some legal analysts say that potential heirs don't need to line up as the executor of a testator's estate will reach out to them if there are any items left behind to them. Heirs also don't have to line up because testators may have identified beneficiaries to receive their possessions instead.

What would you even put into a revocable living trust?

Up to this point, you have either actively avoided estate planning or just felt that it wasn't necessary yet. However, now, you are ready to take on the task of preparing for events in your future that you would rather not think about, such as incapacitation and death.

As you start your estate plan, one of the questions asked is whether you are considering a revocable living trust. You may not think you could benefit from one, but if you knew what type of property you could transfer into it, you may change your mind.

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McEvoy Law
8 West Third Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701

Phone: 301-228-0810
Fax: 301-694-2754
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