What happens to home if you die without will?


September 04, 1994|By Michael Gisriel

Q: What will happen to my home if I die without a will?

Gene Huntington, Abingdon

A: If title to your house is held as tenants-by-the-entirety (that is, husband and wife) or as joint tenants, then title will automatically pass to the survivor or survivors without the need for probate.

Otherwise, if you die without a will, state law will determine how your probate assets will be distributed. In Maryland, if you are survived by a spouse and at least one minor child, your spouse will receive only half of the probate assets and your children will receive the other half (a deceased child's share will pass to that child's own children).

If you are married and all of your surviving children are over the age of 18, or if you have no descendants and a parent survives you, your spouse will receive the first $15,000 of the probate assets, plus half of the remaining assets. The other half will pass to your surviving descendants or parents.

Your surviving spouse will receive the entire probate estate, including your house, only if you have no descendants or parents who survive you. Your siblings or more remote relatives will receive a portion of your probate estate if you are not survived by a spouse, descendant or parent.

Q: I'm interested in purchasing a house from a nonprofit organization in Baltimore City. How do I go about it? Will they help me write and present a purchase contract?

Richard May, Owings Mills

A: There are many housing bargains to be found in Baltimore City, and working with a nonprofit housing organization is a good way to find them if you are going to live in the house you purchase.

In addition, many of the nonprofit housing groups have access to below-market financing to qualified homebuyers. While the nonprofits are happy to work with real estate agents, many of them offer guidance and counseling that includes helping the prospective homeowner write and present a purchase contract to the seller of the house.

Two of the larger nonprofit housing organizations operating in Baltimore City are Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), 327-1200, and St. Ambrose Housing Center, 235-5770.

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