Annapolis Probate Real Estate Issues

As of 2010, The Maryland State Data Center reported that 74.2 percent of residents in Anne Arundel County owned their residence. This means that if you are named as executor of a will for an Annapolis resident, chances are you will have to navigate how to handle the decedent’s real estate as you manage probate. How real estate is viewed by probate courts in Maryland depends on several factors and it can initially feel like an overwhelming task to manage. Let the Annapolis probate real estate issues attorneys at Frame & Frame answer your questions and guide you through this process.

Was the Real Estate Listed in a Will?

If the real estate owned by the decedent was listed in a will, then the terms and conditions of the will generally apply in probate. An exception to this would be if the property is jointly owned by another person, such as a spouse, in which case it would become their sole property. If there is no will, Maryland’s intestacy laws take effect. Under these laws the only people who can become heirs are the spouse, children, or parents. If someone who marries, divorces, and remarries has children in either marriage it can pose inheritance problems if they do not have a will at the time of death.

Types of Real Estate Ownership

When looking at real estate during probate, it is important to determine if the asset is part of the decedent’s estate. There are four key ways a person can own real estate and the different types have different implications for an estate.

  • Tenants by the Entirety – This type of ownership can only happen with a married couple and it prevents creditors who are going after one spouse to consider the property an asset, except as the Baltimore Sun mentions, for the purpose of federal tax liens.
  • Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship – Joint tenancy could be between a married couple, but it can also be between an unmarried party of two or more people. For this to apply, each person must have equal interest in the property. If one party sells, which they are allowed to do without consent, the property owners are then considered to be tenants in common.
  • Tenants in Common – There is no right to survivorship when the owners of a property are tenants in common. In this case, the decedent’s interest in the property can be passed along to heirs through the probate process, who then become co-owners with the other original owner.
  • Sole Ownership – If the decedent was the only owner of a property, or previous co-owners are also now deceased, the real estate becomes a part of the probate estate that is handled by an executor.

Responsibilities of Executor With Regards To Real Estate

An estate’s executor is responsible for the property during probate. This means collecting rent from tenant’s, maintaining the property, ensuring it stays rented, and potentially selling it. If the will lists a specific heir for the property, the executor is responsible for transferring the property into their name at the end of the probate process. If the estate has significant debts, it may be necessary to sell the property to satisfy those debts. If there is no will, the property will likely be sold so that the proceeds can be distributed evenly according to Maryland’s intestate laws. If you are named as an executor of an estate, you do not need to navigate the probate process alone. Let the Annapolis probate attorneys at Frame & Frame assist you with the real estate duties of the executor. Contact our offices for a free consultation today at 410-255-0373.