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

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2020 | Probate

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 a Maryland resident dies without a will varies depending on whether they’re survived by a husband or wife, children, parents and other descendants.

A decedent who is survived by a spouse and at least one minor child will generally have any assets that remain in their estate split right down the middle between their husband or wife and their kids.

Any decedent that leaves behind a spouse and one or more sons or daughters, all of which who are grown adults, will often have their first $15,000 worth of assets go to their widow or widower. The remaining portion of the decedent’s estate generally gets divided in half between the surviving spouse and their children.

If a decedent isn’t survived by a spouse, yet does have descendants, then their assets generally end up being split up between their heirs in close relation order first. A decedent who leaves behind a spouse but no other descendants or parents will generally have their remaining estate assets go to their surviving widow or widower.

There are instances in which a decedent’s parents may inherit a portion of their remaining estate. This often happens when a Maryland resident who was married, yet had no descendants at the time of their death passes away. The decedent’s spouse is generally entitled to the estate’s first $15,000 in assets and half any other remaining assets. The remainder of the decedent’s possessions goes to their parents.

Intestate succession laws can be quite difficult to make sense of. This is especially the case if the decedent has been married multiple times, had kids from various relationships, step-children or parents or no surviving relatives at all. A probate attorney can help you as the executor make sense of Maryland intestate succession laws and how to best apply them in your Frederick case.