Maryland Intestacy Laws

The following are excerpts from Maryland’s intestacy laws. Please reference the full body of Maryland’s probate and intestate laws for any changes to those laws that may not be reflected below.

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Maryland Intestate Laws

1-202. Surviving spouse
(a) Valid divorce. No person who has received an absolute divorce from the decedent or whose marriage to the decedent has been validly annulled is a surviving spouse.
(b) Divorce in another state. No person who has voluntarily appeared in a proceeding in which an absolute divorce between the decedent and the survivor, or an annulment of their marriage was obtained, even though not recognized as valid in this State, is a surviving spouse. This subsection does not apply if the parties to the divorce or annulment subsequently remarry each other.
(c) Marriage to a third party. No person who participates in a marriage ceremony with a third person, after a decree or judgment of divorce or annulment obtained by the decedent, is a surviving spouse.
(d) Conviction of bigamy. No person who has been convicted of bigamy while married to the decedent is a surviving spouse.

1-203. Degree of relationship Civil law
Degrees of relationship shall be reckoned according to the method of the civil law by beginning with either of the persons in question, ascending to the common ancestor, and then descending to the other person. One degree shall be counted for each step both ascending and descending.

1-204. Degree of relationship Relative of half blood
A relative of the half blood has the same status as a relative of the whole blood of the same degree.

1-205. Child
(a) In general. A child includes:
(1) A legitimate child, an adopted child, and an illegitimate child to the extent provided in §1-206 through 1-208 of this subtitle; and
(2) A child conceived from the genetic material of a person after the death of the person if:
(i) The person consented in a written record to use of the person’s genetic material for posthumous conception in accordance with the requirements of 20-111 of the Health – General Article;
(ii) The person consented in a written record to be the parent of a child posthumously conceived using the person’s genetic material;
(iii) The child is born within 2 years of the person’s death; and
(iv) With respect to any trust, the person was the creator of the trust and the trust became irrevocable on or after October 1, 2012.
(b) Exception. A child does not include a stepchild, a foster child, or a grandchild or more remote descendant.

1-206. Legitimate child
(a) Marriage of parents. A child born or conceived during a marriage is presumed to be the legitimate child of both spouses. Except as provided in 1-207 of this subtitle, a child born at any time after his parents have participated in a marriage ceremony with each other, even if the marriage is invalid, is presumed to be the legitimate child of both parents.
(b) Artificial insemination. A child conceived by artificial insemination of a married woman with the consent of her husband is the legitimate child of both of them for all purposes. Consent of the husband is presumed.

1-207. Adopted child
(a) General rule. An adopted child shall be treated as a natural child of his adopting parent or parents. On adoption, a child no longer shall be considered a child of either natural parent, except that upon adoption by the spouse of a natural parent, the child shall still be considered the child of that natural parent.
(b) More than one adoption. A child who has been adopted more than once shall be considered to be a child of the parent or parents who have adopted him most recently and shall cease to be considered a child of his previous parents.

1-208. Illegitimate child
(a) Child of his mother. A child born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other shall be considered to be the child of his mother.
(b) Child of his father. A child born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other shall be considered to be the child of his father only if the father:
(1) Has been judicially determined to be the father in an action brought under the statutes relating to paternity proceedings;
(2) Has acknowledged himself, in writing, to be the father;
(3) Has openly and notoriously recognized the child to be his child; or
(4) Has subsequently married the mother and has acknowledged himself, orally or in writing, to be the father.

1-209. Issue
(a) In general. In construing all provisions of the estates of decedents law and, unless a contrary intention is indicated, in construing the terms of a will, issue means every living lineal descendant except a lineal descendant of a living lineal descendant.
(b) Person treated as child. A person who is treated as a child of a person pursuant to §1-205 through 1-208 of this subtitle shall be considered for all purposes as:
(1) A lineal descendant of the person; and
(2) Subject to the exception in the first sentence of this section, a lineal descendant of all persons of whom the person is a lineal descendant.





1-210. Representation per stirpes
(a) Intestate succession. When provision is made for representation in this article, the shares shall be determined in accordance with subsections (b) and (c) of this section.
(b) Issue of decedent. In the case of issue of the decedent, the property shall be divided into as many equal shares as there are children of the decedent who survive the decedent and children of the decedent who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent. Each child of the decedent who did survive the decedent shall receive one share and the issue of each child of the decedent who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent shall receive one share apportioned by applying to the children and other issue of each nonsurviving child of the decedent the pattern of representation provided for in this subsection for the children and other issue of the decedent and repeating that pattern with respect to succeeding generations until all shares are determined.
(c) Issue of parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent of decedent. In the case of issue of a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the decedent, the property shall be divided into as many equal shares as there are lineal descendants of either, or of both, of the pair of parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents, as the case may be, of the nearest degree of relationship to the decedent of whom any survived the decedent and who did so survive, and lineal descendants of the same degree who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent. Each lineal descendant of the nearest degree surviving the decedent shall receive one share and the issue of each deceased lineal descendant of that degree who left issue surviving the decedent shall receive one share apportioned in the manner of representation set forth for issue of the decedent in subsection (b) of this section.

3-102. Share of surviving spouse
(a) In general. The share of a surviving spouse shall be as provided in this section.
(b) Surviving minor child. If there is a surviving minor child, the share shall be one-half.
(c) No surviving minor child, but surviving issue. If there is no surviving minor child, but there is surviving issue, the share shall be the first $ 40,000 plus one-half of the residue.
(d) No surviving issue, but surviving parent. If there is no surviving issue but a surviving parent, the share shall be the first $ 40,000 plus one-half of the residue.
(e) No surviving issue or parent. If there is no surviving issue or parent, the share shall be the whole estate.
(f) Calculation of net estate. For the purposes of this section, the net estate shall be calculated without a deduction for the tax as defined in 7-308 of the Tax – General Article.

3-103. Division among surviving issue
The net estate, exclusive of the share of the surviving spouse, or the entire net estate if there is no surviving spouse, shall be divided equally among the surviving issue, by representation as defined in 1-210 of this article.

3-104. Distribution when there is no surviving issue
(a) In general. If there is no surviving issue the net estate exclusive of the share of the surviving spouse, or the entire net estate if there is no surviving spouse, shall be distributed by the personal representative pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(b) Parents and their issue. Subject to §3-111 and 3-112 of this subtitle, it shall be distributed to the surviving parents equally, or if only one parent survives, to the survivor; or if neither parent survives, to the issue of the parents, by representation.
(c) Grandparents and their issue. If there is no surviving parent or issue of a parent, it shall be distributed one half to the surviving paternal grandparents equally, or if only one paternal grandparent survives, to the survivor, or if neither paternal grandparent survives, to the issue of the paternal grandparents, by representation, and one half to the surviving maternal grandparents equally, or if only one maternal grandparent survives, to the survivor, or if neither maternal grandparent survives, to the issue of the maternal grandparents, by representation. In the event that neither of one pair of grandparents and none of the issue of either of that pair survives, the one half share applicable shall be distributed to the other pair of grandparents, the survivor of them or the issue of either of them, in the same manner as prescribed for their half share.
(d) Great-grandparents and their issue. If there is no surviving parent or issue of a parent, or surviving grandparent or issue of a grandparent, it shall be distributed one quarter to each pair of great-grandparents equally or all to the survivor, or if neither survives, all to the issue of either or of both of that pair of great-grandparents, by representation. In the event that neither member of a pair of great-grandparents nor any issue of either of that pair survives, the quarter share applicable shall be distributed equally among the remaining pairs of great-grandparents or the survivor of a pair or issue of either of a pair of great-grandparents, in the same manner as prescribed for a quarter share.
(e) No surviving blood relative. If there is no surviving blood relative entitled to inherit under this section, it shall be divided into as many equal shares as there are stepchildren of the decedent who survive the decedent and stepchildren of the decedent who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent. Each stepchild of the decedent who did survive the decedent shall receive one share and the issue of each stepchild of the decedent who did not survive the decedent but of whom issue did survive the decedent shall receive one share apportioned by applying the pattern of representation set forth in 1-210 of this article. As used in this subsection, “stepchild” shall mean the child of any spouse of the decedent if such spouse was not divorced from the decedent.

3-105. Escheat
(a) Applicability; net estate.
(1)
(i) The provisions of this subsection are applicable if there is no person entitled to take under §3-102 through 3-104 of this subtitle.
(ii) The provisions of this subsection do not apply to any portion of a decedent’s estate that is comprised of land that is the subject of an application for a certificate of reservation for public use under Title 13, Subtitle 3 of the Real Property Article.
(2)
(i) If an individual was a recipient of long-term care benefits under the Maryland Medical Assistance Program at the time of the individual’s death, the net estate shall be converted to cash and paid to the Maryland Department of Health, and shall be applied for the administration of the program.
(ii) If the provisions of subparagraph (i) of this paragraph are not applicable, the net estate shall be converted to cash and paid to the board of education in the county in which the letters were granted, and shall be applied for the use of the public schools in the county.
(b) Refund.
(1) After payment has been made to the Maryland Department of Health or to the board of education, if a claim for refund is filed by a relative within the fifth degree living at the death of the decedent or by the personal representative of the relative, and the claim is allowed, the claimant shall be entitled to a refund, without interest, of the sum paid.
(2) A claim for refund under this subsection may not be filed after the later of:
(i) 3 years after the death of the decedent; or
(ii) 1 year after the time of distribution of the property.

3-107. After-born child
(a) Right to inheritance. A child of the decedent who is conceived before the death of the decedent, but born afterwards shall inherit as if the child had been born in the lifetime of the decedent.
(b) Exception. No other after-born relation may be considered as entitled to distribution in the relation’s own right unless:
(1) The decedent had consented in a written record to use of the decedent’s genetic material for posthumous conception in accordance with the requirements of 20-111 of the Health – General Article;
(2) The decedent consented in a written record to be the parent of a child posthumously conceived using the person’s genetic material; and
(3) The child posthumously conceived using the decedent’s genetic material is born within 2 years after the death of the decedent.

3-108. Inheritance from illegitimate person
Property of an illegitimate person passes in accordance with the usual rules of intestate succession, except that the father or his relations can inherit only if the person is treated as the child of the father pursuant to 1-208 of this article.

3-109. Person related to decedent through two lines
A person who is related to the decedent through two lines of relationship is entitled to only a single share based on the relationship which would entitle him to the larger share.

3-110. Certain heirs not surviving decedent for 30 days
If a descendant, ancestor, or descendant of an ancestor of the decedent, fails to survive the decedent by 30 full days, he shall be considered to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of intestate succession, and is not to be entitled to the rights of an heir. If the time of death of the decedent or of the descendant, ancestor, or descendant of an ancestor of the decedent, who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, so that it cannot be established that he has survived the decedent by 30 full days, that person shall not be considered to have survived for the required period.

11-113. Posthumously conceived child.
(a) In general. If a decedent consented in a written record to use of the decedent’s genetic material for posthumous conception in accordance with the requirements of 20-111 of the Health – General Article, the following shall be filed with the register of wills for the county in which the decedent’s estate is probated in the State or, if there is no probate estate filed, with the register of wills for the county in which the decedent was domiciled in the State at the date of death:
(1) A copy of a posthumously conceived child’s birth record; and
(2) The written consents required by 1-205(a)(2) or 3-107(b) of this article.
(b) Required filings.
(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the written consents required by 1-205(a)(2) or 3-107(b) of this article shall be filed under subsection (a) of this section within 6 months after the date of the decedent’s death.
(2) With respect to a decedent who dies between October 1, 2012, and May 30, 2013, inclusive, the written consents required by 1-205(a)(2) or 3-107(b) of this article shall be filed under subsection (a) of this section by December 1, 2013.
(3) A copy of a posthumously conceived child’s birth record shall be filed within 2 years and 60 days after the date of the decedent’s death.
(c) Immunity for property transfer where filings not made. Absent the filing as required in this section of a posthumously conceived child’s birth record and the written consents required by 1-205(a)(2) or 3-107(b) of this article:
(1) A person holding property that passes by reason of the death of the decedent may distribute or deliver the property without liability for a claim by any posthumously conceived child unknown to the person; and
(2) The transferee of any such property shall be entitled to receive the property without liability for a claim by any posthumously conceived child unknown to the transferee.