Wills, Estates, and Probate

Wills, Estates, and Probate

Future planning is important. For everyone. Although a sensitive matter, end of life planning is essential for everyone to consider. Your estate plan is a living and breathing document and should be reviewed and updated every 5-10 years. As your life changes, you experience gains and losses, births and deaths, marriages and divorces, but one thing remains constant: the need to plan for your future.   

Whether you realize it or not, you already have a will. The state in which you reside has drafted it for you. If you pass away without a will, it is called intestate. The state determines who inherits from your estate, how much, when, and where. If you do not wish for the state to control, you have the option to draft your own will that will establish who inherits, how, when, and where.

Maryland Law

In Maryland, the Estates and Trusts Article codifies what your family would be entitled to absent a will to the contrary:

§ 3-102. Share of surviving spouse.

(a) General.- The share of a surviving spouse shall be as provided in this section.

(b) Surviving minor child.- If there is a surviving minor child, the share shall be one-half.

(c) No surviving minor child, but surviving issue.- If there is no surviving minor child, but there is surviving issue, the share shall be the first $15,000 plus one-half of the residue.

(d) No surviving issue, but surviving parent.- If there is no surviving issue but a surviving parent, the share shall be the first $15,000 plus one-half of the residue.

(e) No surviving issue or parent.- If there is no surviving issue or parent, the share shall be the whole estate.

(f) Calculation of net estate.- For the purposes of this section, the net estate shall be calculated without a deduction for the tax as defined in § 7-308 of the Tax-General Article.

§ 3-103. Division among surviving issue.

The net estate, exclusive of the share of the surviving spouse, or the entire net estate if there is no surviving spouse, shall be divided equally among the surviving issue, by representation as defined in § 1-210.

§ 3-104. Distribution when there is no surviving issue.

(a) General.- If there is no surviving issue the net estate exclusive of the share of the surviving spouse, or the entire net estate if there is no surviving spouse, shall be distributed by the personal representative pursuant to the provisions of this section.

(b) Parents and their issue.- Subject to §§ 3-111 and 3-112 of this subtitle, it shall be distributed to the surviving parents equally, or if only one parent survives, to the survivor; or if neither parent survives, to the issue of the parents, by representation.

(c) Grandparents and their issue.- If there is no surviving parent or issue of a parent, it shall be distributed one half to the surviving paternal grandparents equally, or if only one paternal grandparent survives, to the survivor, or if neither paternal grandparent survives, to the issue of the paternal grandparents, by representation, and one half to the surviving maternal grandparents equally, or if only one maternal grandparent survives, to the survivor, or if neither maternal grandparent survives, to the issue of the maternal grandparents, by representation. In the event that neither of one pair of grandparents and none of the issue of either of that pair survives, the one half share applicable shall be distributed to the other pair of grandparents, the survivor of them or the issue of either of them, in the same manner as prescribed for their half share.

(d) Great-grandparents and their issue.- If there is no surviving parent or issue of a parent, or surviving grandparent or issue of a grandparent, it shall be distributed one quarter to each pair of great-grandparents equally or all to the survivor, or if neither survives, all to the issue of either or of both of that pair of great-grandparents, by representation. In the event that neither member of a pair of great-grandparents nor any issue of either of that pair survives, the quarter share applicable shall be distributed equally among the remaining pairs of great-grandparents or the survivor of a pair or issue of either of a pair of great-grandparents, in the same manner as prescribed for a quarter share.

(e) No surviving blood relative.- If there is no surviving blood relative entitled to inherit under this section, it shall be divided into as many equal shares as there are stepchildren of the decedent who survive the decedent and stepchildren of the decedent who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent. Each stepchild of the decedent who did survive the decedent shall receive one share and the issue of each stepchild of the decedent who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent shall receive one share apportioned by applying the pattern of representation set forth in § 1-210. As used in this subsection, “stepchild” shall mean the child of any spouse of the decedent if such spouse was not divorced from the decedent.

Don’t like what you just read? Want to take tax considerations into account before making distributions and allocations? Perhaps you wish for assets to be held in trust for the benefit of your loved ones? Special needs child? Minor children? Spouse? Step-children? Close friends? Pets? International assets? Vacation homes in other states?

BGS Law, LLC can help you decide what plan works best. We will work close with you to evaluate your current assets, family situation, and make a rational and informed decision for your future. 

We can assist you in the drafting of:

  • Wills and Codicils
  • Living Wills and Health Care Directives
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Trusts

Contact the Wills, Estates, and Probate law firm of BGS Law

For years, Bethany G. Shechtel, Esq. has guided her clients through the estate planning process. To learn more about how BGS Law can help you plan for the future and your family, contact us today. 

For more information, contact us today.

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Areas Served

BGS Law is located in Rockville, Maryland, and our attorney proudly serves all areas of Montgomery County, including Rockville, Olney, Silver Spring, Potomac, Gaithersburg, Poolesville, Bethesda, Germantown, and Clarksburg. 

Our Satellite offices are located in Frederick, Maryland and Hollywood, Florida. Our attorney proudly serves all areas of Frederick County, Maryland including Frederick, Braddock Heights, Middletown, Hyattstown, Urbana, and New Market. We proudly serve Broward County and Miami-Dade County, Florida, including Hollywood, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale.