Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A
- Estate Planning
- Elder Law
- Tax Law
- Free Consultation
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
- University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
- J.D. (1989)
- Skidmore College
- B.A. (1986) | Mathematics and History
- Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
16 Questions Answered
- Q. Trust Fund Mis-use
- A: Your uncle as trustee of a trust for the benefit of your son is required to provide your son or, if he is a minor, his parents with an accounting of the trust assets. Unfortunately, since your uncle is refusing to communicate with you, your son or you will be required to institute litigation against him in order to compel him to provide an accounting. This litigation will be required to be instituted in a general equity court where the trust has situs. If your mother's estate was opened in Maryland then the court with jurisdiction will most likely be the circuit court in the county or Baltimore City where her estate was administered. In any event, it would be prudent to review this matter with an attorney who pursues estate and trust litigation.
- Q. I'm the Personal Representative of my mother's estate. Does her house have to be deeded to me in order to sell?
- A: Your late mother's house can be sold through her estate by the personal representaive or after it has been transferred from her estate to the designated legatees or heirs by them. There are certain benefits availble to an estate to sell real property which is not available to individuals including limited personal liability and certain tax deducations. Prior to selling or transferring the property, you should consult with a local probate attorney to discuss your options. Best of luck.
- Q. Q: In the state of Maryland, after her mother has passed, if a personal representative (PR) lives in the mother's home
- A: As with most legal questions, there is generally not one correct answer for all circumstances, but is based on the underlying facts of that situation. If the personal representative moved in to your mother's home to preserve and protect it during the administration of the estate, that situation usually would not entail the personal representative to pay rent. However, the personal representative would only be able to reside in the house until it could be sold or transfer to the estate beneficiaries. Even who is responsible for paying the utilities and real property taxes is dependent upon the underlying facts. You should first contact the personal representative and find out how long that person intends to reside in the house until it is sold or transferred. If the answer is not satisfactory to you, then you should consult with a local probate attorney. Best of luck.
- Q. My mother has a reverse mortgage on her house and there will be a negative equity of $50,000 owed when she passes.
- A: Assuming that your mother's reverse mortgage is federally insured, upon her death the outstanding balance of the mortgage becomes due, however, neither her estate nor any anyone inheriting from her estate will become liable for that debt. In your mother's case where there is no equity in property, the mortgage is greater than the value of the property, the mortgage company will either take back the property or sell it, but in either event any losses are covered by the federal insurance. When this event occurs the estate nor the heirs of the estate have any right to the house or any of the subsequent sale proceeds. Your mother does not have to do anything at all the protect her estate or family members since these terms are incorporated in the reverse mortgage instrument. I hope this addresses your concerns,
- Q. My grandfather recently died. He had a bank account set up for me and my two siblings.
- A: There is no quick or easy answer to your question. Your aunt in her capacity as your grandfather's agent under the power of attorney created by him owed him a fiduciary duty to administer his property in his best interest. Furthermore, your aunt cannot act under the power of attorney for her best interest in contravention of what is in your grandfather's best interest. Under this principal of fiduciary duty, you could argue that your aunt subverted your grandfather's testamentary plans by retitling the bank account from payable on death to his sole name. This argument is only sustainable if your grandfather did not need this money for his personal expenses or debts during his lifetime. Additionally, in order to protect you and your sibling's rights in this matter, all of you will be required to institute actions in both the orphans' court where your grandfather's estate is opened as well as institute an action in the circuit court. You will definitely need to retain an attorney who practices in estate litigation to assist you in this case.
- Q. How do I file an eception to a 3rd not final account, in Baltimore Cnty. I inherited and recieved a house.
- A: Filing exceptions to an administration account is a time sensitive issue since exceptions have to be filed within 20 day of approval of the administration account. Even though receipt of insurance proceeds and expenditures of repairs to an estate asset (the house) should be included in the administration account, the issue that should be addressed is that the repairs are incomplete and the repairs completed were done is a shoddy manner. You should consult with a local probate attorney since exceptions or action against the personal representative most likely has to be instituted.
- Q. My mother in law has been paying the taxes on a peace of property that was her grandfathers for well over 20 Years.
- A: If the property is located in Maryland and is titled solely in in name of your mother-in-law's grandfather, then that property is an asset of the estate of the grandfather. Your mother-in-law most likely has a right to receive an interest in the property either through intestate succession or the grandfather's will. In either event, the only way in which the title to the property can be transferred is to open the estate of the grandfather in the orphans' court or register of wills' office in the county in which the grandfather lived or in which the property is located. The fact that your mother-in-law has been paying taxes on the property for 20 years does not give her an ownership interest in the property, but she would be able to seek reimbursement of those expenses for the estate, but the estate may be entitled to offsets pending on your mother-in-law's use of the property. Due to the 20 year delay in opening the estate, I would recommend you consulting with an probate attorney prior to commencing opening the estate. Best of luck.
- Q. Can PR of my mother's estate, list her home for sale, while the estate is in probate? When is legal/allowable to do so?
- A: One of the primary duties of the personal representative is to marshal the decedent's assets. As part of this duty to marshal assets, Maryland law explicitly authorizes the personal representative the right to sale the decedent's assets including real property. After an estate is opened, the personal representative can moved forward with selling the decedent's assets at any time. There are limitations on this right, but are restricted to particular situations in which the real property is being rented or if the property was and continues to be occupied by heirs or legatees of the you mother's estate. In these exceptions do not apply, then the personal representative is proceeding correctly with the sale of the real property.
- Q. My mother's estate is worth less than $100,000.00. The beneficiaries of the estate are my sister, me, and my brother-in-
- A: A probate estate or the persons receiving under that estate may be subject estate and/or inheritance taxes. Due to the size of the estate and whose inheriting from it, there will be neither estate nor inheritance taxes owing. For estates of decedent's who died in 2015, no federal estate taxes are owing for estates with gross assets under $5.43 million or less, and no Maryland estate taxes are owing for estates with gross assets of $1.5 million or less. Since the distributees of the estate are children of the decedent or spouse of a child, these persons are not subject to any inheritance taxes for assets received from an estate..
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