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How do we gain ownership of a property, that was left behind from a deceased parent, who left no will?

Baltimore, MD |

My husband"s father passed away and left no will. He has two brothers, one estranged and one incarcerated for murder etc.. My husband and I are looking into getting the house in our name.. The estranged brother will sign a wave of bond, no problem.. The incarcerated one, most likely will not. What steps must we take in order to gain control and ownership of this property?

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Attorney answers 2


Assuming this is Maryland property, someone needs to start probate at the office of the Register of Wills in the county where his father lived if he was a Maryland resident or the county where the property is. Maryland law provides that if a parent dies without a Will and without a spouse that his children and the issue (children, grandchildren, etc) of any deceased child take equal shares. The brother who is incarcerated can't act as Personal representative and if the estranged brother has or will also Consent to your husband being PR he can start probate. For detailed information on probate, see the publications about administering estates here



Thank you for your timely response. Yes, the property is in MD. I apologize for any misunderstandings, but am I reading correctly that the incarcerated brother basically has no right to become PR? Therefore we need not try to obtain a PR bond, which in my understanding is basically disputing his ability to have ownership in the property? So to gain the waive from the estranged brother will be the first hurdle, then moving onto probate?

George E Meng

George E Meng


Sorry for the delay. Your comment ended up in my spam box. If the brother was convicted of a "serious crime" he is disqualifed from being PR in accordance with a statute. Your understanding of why you get a bond is screwed up. Time has come for you to call a lawyer. You are welcome to call me but do it after 3:30 today or tomorrow.


Mr. Meng is correct, you need to open probate and have a personal representative of the estate named. Whether your husband can take full ownership of the property is dependent on the other parties agreeing to this, they have a right to ownership. You have some discrete issues and may benefit from having an attorney.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:



Unfortunately, hiring an attorney is not within our reach, at this time..... Was I reading correctly that the brother who is incarcerated cannot act as the PR, therefore, we need not get his approval in writing?

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