Estate Planning

If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Maryland, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Maryland has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Maryland Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Order of distribution of net intestate estate

Any part of the net estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by his will shall be distributed by the personal representative to the heirs of the decedent in the order prescribed in this subtitle. 

Maryland Trusts and Estates Code Ann., § 3-101

 

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.

Maryland Trusts and Estates Code Ann., § 3-102

 

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. 

Maryland Trusts and Estates Code Ann., § 3-103

 

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. 

Maryland Trusts and Estates Code Ann., § 3-104

 

Escheat

(a)  Applicability; net estate.-

          (1) (i) The provisions of this subsection are applicable if there is no person entitled to take under §§ 3-102 through 3-104 of this subtitle. 

               (ii) The provisions of this subsection do not apply to any portion of a decedent's estate that is comprised of land that is the subject of an application for a certificate of reservation for public use under Title 13, Subtitle 3 of the Real Property Article.

          (2) (i) If an individual was a recipient of long-term care benefits under the Maryland Medical Assistance Program at the time of the individual's death, the net estate shall be converted to cash and paid to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and shall be applied for the administration of the program. 

               (ii) If the provisions of subparagraph (i) of this paragraph are not applicable, the net estate shall be converted to cash and paid to the board of education in the county in which the letters were granted, and shall be applied for the use of the public schools in the county. 

(b)  Refund.-

          (1) After payment has been made to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or to the board of education, if a claim for refund is filed by a relative within the fifth degree living at the death of the decedent or by the personal representative of the relative, and the claim is allowed, the claimant shall be entitled to a refund, without interest, of the sum paid. 

          (2) A claim for refund under this subsection may not be filed after the later of:

               (i) 3 years after the death of the decedent; or

               (ii) 1 year after the time of distribution of the property. 

Maryland Trusts and Estates Code Ann., § 3-105

 

Other intestacy statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Maryland. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Maryland's Intestacy Laws]

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If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Maine, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Maine has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Maine Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Intestate estate

Any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by his will passes to his heirs as prescribed in the following sections of this Code. 

Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18-A, § 2-101

 

Share of spouse or registered domestic partner

The intestate share of the surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner is:

     (1) If there is no surviving issue or parent of the decedent, the entire intestate estate;

     (2) If there is no surviving issue but the decedent is survived by a parent or parents, the first $50,000, plus 1/2 of the balance of the intestate estate;

     (3) If there are surviving issue all of whom are issue of the surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner also, the first $50,000, plus 1/2 of the balance of the intestate estate; or

     (4) If there are surviving issue one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner, 1/2 of the intestate estate.

Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18-A, § 2-102

 

Share of heirs other than surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner

The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner under section 2-102 , or the entire estate if there is no surviving spouse or surviving registered domestic partner, passes as follows: 

      (1) To the issue of the decedent; to be distributed per capita at each generation as defined in section 2-106 ;

      (2) If there is no surviving issue, to the decedent's parent or parents equally;

      (3) If there is no surviving issue or parent, to the issue of the parents or either of them to be distributed per capita at each generation as defined in section 2-106 ;

      (4) If there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or issue of grandparents, half of the estate passes to the paternal grandparents if both survive, or to the surviving paternal grandparent, or to the issue of the paternal grandparents if both are deceased to be distributed per capita at each generation as defined in section 2-106 ; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there is no surviving grandparent or issue of grandparents on either the paternal or maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half; or

      (5) If there is no surviving issue, parent or issue of a parent, grandparent or issue of a grandparent, but the decedent is survived by one or more great-grandparents or issue of great-grandparents, half of the estate passes to the paternal great-grandparents who survive, or to the issue of the paternal great-grandparents if all are deceased, to be distributed per capita at each generation as defined in section 2-106 ; and the other half passes to the maternal relatives in the same manner; but if there is no surviving great-grandparent or issue of a great-grandparent on either the paternal or maternal side, the entire estate passes to the relatives on the other side in the same manner as the half.

Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18-A, § 2-103

 

Requirement that heir survive decedent for 120 hours

Any person who fails to survive the decedent by 120 hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, exempt property and intestate succession, and the decedent's heirs are determined accordingly. If the time of death of the decedent or of the person who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, and it cannot be established that the person who would otherwise be an heir has survived the decedent by 120 hours, it is deemed that the person failed to survive for the required period. This section is not to be applied where its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the State under section 2-105 .

Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18-A, § 2-104

 

No taker

If there is no taker under the provisions of this Article, the intestate estate passes to the State. 

Maine Revised Statutes, Title 18-A, § 2-105

 

Other intestacy statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Maine. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Maine's Intestacy Laws]

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If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Louisiana, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Louisiana has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Louisiana Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Intestate succession

In the absence of valid testamentary disposition, the undisposed property of the deceased devolves by operation of law in favor of his descendants, ascendants, and collaterals, by blood or by adoption, and in favor of his spouse not judicially separated from him, in the order provided in and according to the following articles.

Civil Code, Art. 880

 

Representation: effect

Representation is a fiction of the law, the effect of which is to put the representative in the place, degree, and rights of the person represented.

Civil Code, Art. 881

 

Representation in direct line of descendants

Representation takes place ad infinitum in the direct line of descendants.  It is permitted in all cases, whether the children of the deceased concur with the descendants of the predeceased child, or whether, all the children having died before him, the descendants of the children be in equal or unequal degrees of relationship to the deceased.  For purposes of forced heirship, representation takes place only as provided in Article 1493.

Civil Code, Art. 882

 

Representation of ascendants not permissible

Representation does not take place in favor of the ascendants, the nearest relation in any degree always excluding those of a more remote degree.

Civil Code, Art. 883

 

Representation in collateral line

In the collateral line, representation is permitted in favor of the children and descendants of the brothers and sisters of the deceased, whether they succeed in concurrence with their uncles and aunts, or whether, the brothers and sisters of the deceased having died, their descendants succeed in equal or unequal degrees.

Civil Code, Art. 884

 

Basis of partition in cases of representation

In all cases in which representation is permitted, the partition is made by roots; if one root has produced several branches, the subdivision is also made by roots in each branch, and the members of the same branch take by heads.

Civil Code, Art. 885

 

Representation of deceased persons only

Only deceased persons may be represented

Civil Code, Art. 886

 

Representation of decedent whose succession was renounced

One who has renounced his right to succeed to another may still enjoy the right of representation with respect to that other.

Civil Code, Art. 887

 

Succession rights of descendants

Descendants succeed to the property of their ascendants.  They take in equal portions and by heads if they are in the same degree.  They take by roots if all or some of them succeed by representation.

Civil Code, Art. 888

 

Devolution of community property

If the deceased leaves no descendants, his surviving spouse succeeds to his share of the community property.

Civil Code, Art. 889

 

Usufruct of surviving spouse

If the deceased spouse is survived by descendants, the surviving spouse shall have a usufruct over the decedent's share of the community property to the extent that the decedent has not disposed of it by testament.  This usufruct terminates when the surviving spouse dies or remarries, whichever occurs first.

Civil Code, Art. 890

 

Devolution of separate property; parents and brothers and sisters

If the deceased leaves no descendants but is survived by a father, mother, or both, and by a brother or sister, or both, or descendants from them, the brothers and sisters or their descendants succeed to the separate property of the deceased subject to a usufruct in favor of the surviving parent or parents.  If both parents survive the deceased, the usufruct shall be joint and successive.

Civil Code, Art. 891

 

Devolution of separate property in absence of parents or in absence of brothers and sisters

If the deceased leaves neither descendants nor parents, his brothers or sisters or descendants from them succeed to his separate property in full ownership to the exclusion of other ascendants and other collaterals.

If the deceased leaves neither descendants nor brothers or sisters, nor descendants from them, his parent or parents succeed to the separate property to the exclusion of other ascendants and other collaterals.

Civil Code, Art. 892

 

Other intestacy statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Louisiana. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Louisiana's Intestacy laws]

 

If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Kentucky, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Kentucky has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Kentucky Intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Descent of real estate

When a person having right or title to any real estate of inheritance dies intestate as to such estate, it shall descend in common to his kindred, male and female, in the following order, except as otherwise provided in this chapter:

(1) To his children and their descendants; if there are none, then

(2) To his father and mother, if both are living, one (1) moiety each; but if the father is dead, the mother, if living, shall take the whole estate; if the mother is dead, the whole estate shall pass to the father; if there is no father or mother, then

(3) To his brothers and sisters and their descendants; if there are none, then

(4) To the husband or wife of the intestate; if there are none surviving, then

(5) One (1) moiety of the estate shall pass to the paternal and the other to the maternal kindred, in the following order:

          (a) The grandfather and grandmother equally, if both are living; but if one is dead, the entire moiety shall go to the survivor; if there is no grandfather or grandmother, then

          (b) To the uncles and aunts and their descendants; if there are none, then

          (c) To the great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers, in the same manner prescribed for grandfather and grandmother by subsection (a); if there are none, then

          (d) To the brothers and sisters of the grandfathers and grandmothers and their descendants; and so on in other cases without end, passing to the nearest lineal ancestors and their descendants.

(6) If there is no such kindred to one of the parents as is described in subsection (5), the whole to go to the kindred of the other. If there is neither paternal nor maternal kindred, the whole shall go to the kindred of the husband or wife, as if he or she had survived the intestate and died entitled to the estate.

K.R.S., 391.010

 

Descent of real estate acquired from parent

(1) When a person dies intestate and without issue, owning real estate of inheritance which is the gift of either of his parents, the parent who made the gift, if living, shall inherit the whole of such estate.

(2) If a person under the age of eighteen (18) dies without issue, having the title to real estate derived by gift, devise or descent from one of his parents, the whole shall descend to that parent and that parent's kindred, and if there is none, then in like manner to the other parent and his kindred. The kindred of one parent shall not be so excluded by the kindred of the other parent, if the latter is more remote than the grandfather, grandmother, uncles and aunts of the intestate and their descendants.

K.R.S., 391.020

 

Descent of personal property -- Exemption for surviving spouse and children -- Withdrawal of money from bank by surviving spouse

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, where any person dies intestate as to his or her personal estate, or any part thereof, the surplus, after payment of funeral expenses, charges of administration, and debts, shall pass and be distributed among the same persons, and in the proportions, to whom and in which real estate is directed to descend, except as follows:

          (a) The personal estate of an infant shall be distributed as if he or she had died after full age;

          (b) An alien may be distributee as though he or she were a citizen; and

          (c) Personal property or money on hand or in a bank or other depository to the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) shall be exempt from distribution and sale and shall be set apart by the District Court having jurisdiction over the estate on application to the surviving spouse, or, if there is no surviving spouse, to the surviving children.

(2) The surviving spouse may, at any time before the property or money is set apart by the court, procure on petition from the Judge of the District Court having jurisdiction over administration of the estate, an order authorizing the surviving spouse to withdraw from any bank or other depository not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) belonging to the estate of the deceased. Upon presentation of the order, the bank or depository shall permit the surviving spouse to withdraw the sum and shall lodge the order, endorsing thereon the amount withdrawn, with the circuit clerk who shall retain it in his or her files to be considered in connection with further proceedings in the estate and the withdrawal shall be treated as a charge against the property of the estate exempt from distribution.

(3) In the application for the setting apart of property or money under subsection (1) of this section, the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, the surviving children may make their selection out of the personal property of the estate to the extent that the value of the property selected does not exceed the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

(4) The exemption provided in this section applies where the husband or wife dies testate.

K.R.S., 391.030

 

Other intestacy statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Kentucky's Intestacy laws]

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