Dying without a will can let state step in Spouse and children share in Maryland


Dear Mr. Gisriel:

What will happen to my home if I die without a will?

John Moriarty


Dear Mr. Moriarty:

If title to your home is held as tenants-by-the-entireties (i.e. husband and wife) or as joint tenants, then by operation of the law, the title to your house will automatically vest in the survivor without the necessity of probate. Otherwise, if you die without a will, state law will determine how your probate assets will be distributed.

In Maryland, if you are survived by a spouse and at least one minor child, your spouse will receive only one-half of the probate assets and your children will receive the other one-half. (A deceased child's share will pass to the child's own children.)

If you are married and all of your surviving children are over the age of 18, and if you have no descendants and a parent survives you, your spouse will receive the first $15,000 of the probate assets, plus one-half of the remaining assets. The remaining probate assets will pass to your surviving descendants or parents.

Your surviving spouse will receive the entire probate estate, including your house, only if you have no descendants or parents who survive you.

Your siblings or more remote relatives will receive a portion of your probate estate if you are not survived by a spouse, descendant, or parent.

Contact an attorney if you have more questions.

Dear Mr. Gisriel:

I am interested in purchasing a house from a nonprofit organization in Baltimore.

How do I go about it? Will they help me write and present a purchase contract?

Mrs. Ann Reimer


Dear Mrs. Reimer:

There are many housing bargains to be found in Baltimore. Working with a nonprofit housing organization is a good way to find the bargains if you are going to actually live in the house you are purchasing.

In addition, many of the nonprofit housing groups have access to below-market financing to qualified homebuyers.

While the nonprofits are happy to work with real estate agents, many of them offer guidance and counseling that includes helping the prospective homeowner write and present a purchase contract to the seller of the house you would like to purchase.

Two of the better nonprofit housing organizations operating in Baltimore are Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), telephone 327-1200, and St. Ambrose Housing Center, telephone 235-5770.

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