More than half of adults living in Maryland do not have a Will. This leaves their estate plan in the hands of Maryland’s intestate succession law, which will distribute their property according to an inflexible schedule as follows:
IF THE DECEDENT IS SURVIVED BY
1. Spouse and minor children of the decedent: Spouse receives one-half and children share remaining one-half.
2. Spouse and children (all adult) of the decedent: Spouse receives $15,000 plus one-half of the remaining estate; and adult children share the remaining one-half.
3. Children only of the decedent: children (does not include step-children) divide the entire estate (the interest of a pre-deceased child passes to the issue of that child–grandchild of decedent).
4. Spouse and parents of the decedent: spouse receives $15,000 plus one-half of the remaining estate; and both parents divide the balance or the surviving parent takes the balance.
5. Spouse of the decedent without any children or parents: Spouse receives the entire estate.
6. Parents of the decedent without any spouse or children: Both parents divide the entire estate or the surviving parent takes all.
7. Brother/sisters of the decedent without any spouse, parent, or children: Brothers and sisters divide estate equally (share of deceased sibling goes to their issue–nieces and nephews of the decedent).