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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102301
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
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My mom became a widow, in Maryland, 9/22/2015. They each

Customer Question

My mom became a widow, in Maryland, 9/22/2015. They each have trusts and wills. Irregardless of Will and trust, doesnt Maryland law state she is entitle to 1/3 of estate? He left her $100,000 but estate, when house sells, likely around $800,000.
Second issue, surviving widow has dementia, and her husband used $102,000 of her money to pay off the mortgage, 2/15, on his house which she has no stake in. She knew not what she was agreeing to. Just she have case to sue the estate for that money
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry for your family's loss. In Maryland, the spouse has what is known as a "spousal elective share." Per Section 3-203, the surviving spouse is entitled to a third of the net estate if there are children of the marriage, and half if there are no children. Assuming that you are the child of the deceased (or you have siblings who come from both her and the deceased), then the third applies.

The election must be filed within seven months after the appointment of the executor to the estate.

This is regardless of the Will and may be enforced against the estate in probate, and against the trust in most cases as well.

As for the second issue - if her husband was on the bank account, then he had a right to do this regardless of where the money came from. If he was not, then possibly there may be a criminal matter under "financial exploitation." Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of another person's resources for personal profit. However, given that they are married, it is unlikely that the prosecutor would pursue charges although one can file a complaint and the prosecutor would decide in the end. To pursue a civil suit, one would first have to get adult civil guardianship of the mother, and then sue him for "negligence per se." If so, then the Judge/Jury decides whether his actions were civilly wrong given the circumstances.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never rated positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!