How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36181
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
19958803
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a situation were my father passed last month. We have

Customer Question

Hello, I have a situation were my father passed last month. We have been estranged for 20 years and I was just notified that he passed on August 21.
JA: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?
Customer: Maryland
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: the will was just filed on Sept 28,
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: He divorced my mother in 1985, however her name is ***** ***** the deed to the house. He had a girlfriend that he never married who has assumed the role of executor
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

.

I am sorry to hear of your father's passing... Did you have a specific legal question I can help with this morning?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
his "girlfriend" has assumed the role of executor. I was informed of his passing a month after he died. She tells me that I am not included in the will, and I am the only child. My parents divorced in 1985, but my mother is still on the deed to the house. I am trying to protect my mother's interest. How should I proceed?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Have you actually seen a copy of any will?

.

Has the girlfriend actually filed a probate case in the local probate court where father lived?

.

Do you know if parents were listed as "joint tenants" on the deed to the property? (it would actually say this on the deed)

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
the will was filed on Sept 28 in Maryland PG county. Parents are both listed on the deed, but I do not see it as joint tenants, they are both listed on the mortgage as well, dated 1963
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have not seen a copy of the will yet
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Ok, if you haven't gotten a copy of the will, then you can contact the probate court and request a copy of the probate file as it is a public document once it is filed for probate. That way you can get a copy of the will. Or you can contact the executor directly and request a copy to see if they would provide it. They don't have to, if you aren't listed as a beneficiary, but it can't hurt to request one in writing sent certified mail to the executor.

.

As for the deed, this is going to depend on how the deed reads because if it is silent, then there is a presumption that spouses hold it as "tenants by the entirety" which means that when one passes, the other becomes the sole owner instantly.

.

But when the spouses divorce, that tenancy is destroyed and becomes a "tenancy in common" meaning that they both own 50% of the house and it passes down to their heirs.

.

So if mother is still on the original deed, and any divorce decree doesn't dispose of the house some other way, then she would now be a 50% owner along with whoever father left his 50% to.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
according to the divorce papers it states "no property rights need to be adjudicated" What does that mean?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

That means the nothing was done at all with the house....so mother owns 50% of it right now..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
how do you recommend I proceed?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Is mother still living near him? If so, then it would be a good idea for her to reach out to the executor and give them her contact information. Nothing can be done with the house...like selling.. because mother owns half. So the executor can't do anything except transfer father's half from the estate to whoever inherited it. Then the new owner or mother may decide that they want to sell and cash out their interests.

.

If one party wants to sell and the other doesn't then either party can ask the judge to order a sale of it so that the money can be split.

.

So mother might want to talk to a local attorney where father lived to have him intervene and look out for her interests..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
thanks, ***** ***** is out of state, so this is all falling on me. Is it possible to work through the Register of Wills?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Ok, if you are local then you could contact an attorney on her behalf, but since she is the one with a legal interest here, she will have to be the one who communicates directly with the attorney.

.

But the estate will be administered through the Orphan's Court, not the Register of Wills. The Register just holds wills as a courtesy for residents until they are probated through the court..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks so very much for your assistance.
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

.

If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

.

.

thanks much

Barrister