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What does my spouse get if I die without a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Estate Planning

In Maryland, creating an estate plan is often left to the last minute. People function under the belief that it is something that can wait until later. However, life is about the unexpected and being unprepared can cause a litany of problems, particularly for loved ones.

There are rules that will used to determine how property is divided among loved ones if a person dies without a will. This is also referred to as dying intestate. A priority for many people is making sure their spouse is taken care of after they are gone. Not having a will might limit what the spouse gets. People concerned about this should know the importance of a will and how it can provide for a spouse.

Several factors determine what a spouse will get in an intestate case

According to Maryland law, the circumstances dictate what the spouse and other family members receive if a person dies intestate. This could be problematic if the person wanted specific family members to get property but failed to make that clear in a basic estate plan.

Those who have a spouse and minor children will see their estate split in half between the spouse and their children. Those who have a spouse and adult children will have their property divided in the following way: $40,000 will go to the spouse and they will get half the remainder of the estate. Their children will divide whatever is left.

When there are no children but the person’s parents are still alive, the duration of the marriage will be a major factor. For marriages that lasted longer than five years, the spouse gets the entire estate. If it was less than five years, the spouse gets $40,000 and half the remainder with the parents getting the rest.

Estate planning can ensure property is divided as a person wants

Whether a person is married, has children, has substantial assets or limited property, an estate plan is essential to detail how they want to divide it among heirs. A spouse will get some of the property even if there is no will, but it might not be what the person wanted.

For assistance in creating a tailored estate plan that addresses their concerns, it is useful to contact professionals who specialize in this area of the law. Calling is a first step to avoid the pitfalls of dying intestate. This can be beneficial financially and to give peace of mind.


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