If you die without a will, you may be curious about the fate of your hard-earned assets. Without a will, your assets and property will be allocated in Maryland based on intestate succession laws. Unfortunately, this means there is no assurance that your assets will be inherited by the individuals you wish to receive them. Married couples often question who will inherit their home if the surviving spouse is not named on the deed. Please continue reading to learn about intestate succession laws and how a qualified Montgomery County Will Drafting Attorney can help you safeguard your assets.
How does intestate succession work in Maryland?
In Maryland, when you die without a will, your assets will be passed to your closest relatives due to intestate succession laws. It is critical to note that only assets that pass through probate are impacted by intestate succession laws. Intestate succession is a legal process that establishes a specific order of priority for the distribution of assets. When there is no valid will or other legally binding document dictating how a deceased individual’s assets and property should be distributed, intestate succession laws determine how they will be disbursed to surviving family members.
Under intestate succession laws, the following stipulates who gets what when you pass away:
- If you die with children but no spouse, the children will inherit everything.
- If you die with a spouse without descendants or parents, your spouse will inherit everything.
- If you die with a spouse and children who are minors, your spouse will inherit 1/2 of your intestate property, and the children will inherit everything else.
- If you die with a spouse and descendants but no children who are minors, your spouse will inherit $15,000 worth of your intestate property, and descendants will inherit everything else.
- If you die with a spouse and parents but no descendants, your spouse will inherit $15,000 worth of your intestate property, and your parents will inherit everything else.
- If you die with parents, but no spouse or descendants, your parents will inherit everything.
- If you die with siblings but no spouse, descendants, or parents, your siblings will inherit everything.
Will my spouse receive my house if I die without a valid will?
As you can see, if you had a valid will, the house would be passed to whoever would receive their assets under your will. However, if there is no will and your spouse’s name is not on the title of the deed to your home, intestate succession laws will determine who is entitled to the house.
As such, the answer ultimately depends on whether or not you have living children, parents, or close relatives such as your siblings when you die. Your spouse will inherit your intestate property if you do not have living parents or descendants. If you do, your spouse will share your intestate property as dictated above.
If you do not have an estate plan, it is in your best interest to contact an adept estate planning attorney at JD Katz, who can help you draft a valid will to ensure your assets are distributed to your liking.