Priority to Serve as Personal Representative in Maryland

The Gormley Law Office is pleased to bring you this post, part 10 in our series on the probate process in Maryland. We are a probate law firm located in Kensington, Maryland specializing in estate plans, estate litigation, caveat proceedings, and other probate matters. Call us today at  1.240.514.2358  for your free consultation!

You may have noticed from our previous posts that there is an order of priority for personal representatives in Maryland. That means that under the law, certain persons may be appointed over others depending on the circumstances and depending on the relationship to the decedent.

In Maryland, the priority for appointing a personal representative is governed by Maryland Code, Estates and Trusts, Section 5-104. The priority of appointment is generally as follows:

  1. Anyone named to be the personal representative in the will;
  2. Surviving spouses and children;
  3. Other people named in the will; and
  4. Other relatives of the person who died.

This means that person who is nominated as Personal Representative in a will has the highest priority under the law, because the decedent documented. If there is no will, the highest priority is the surviving spouse, then children.

We can envision several scenarios where you might not want your spouse or children to be your Personal Representative. What if you were separated and getting a divorce from your wife and you die? Or what if one of your children was incapacitated or irresponsible? There are a lot of situations when you wouldn’t want the priority under the law to dictate who manages your estate.

When the Register of Wills or the Orphans’ Court appoints a Personal Representative, it grants the representative Letters of Administration, which gives the Personal Representative authority to distribute the assets in the estate.

That’s why it’s important to plan ahead for what happens after your death, even if you think you don’t have any assets to distribute. The Gormley Law Office can help you create an estate plan that fits your needs! We specialize in probate matters in Maryland and Washington, DC. Send us a message through our Contact Us feature right here on our website!

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Probate, Estate Planning and Real Estate Attorney
Brian Gormley, Esq. is an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia specializing in real estate, probate, estate litigation and other matters. If you need assistance, please use the Contact Feature at the bottom of this page.
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