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George E Meng

George Meng’s Answers

206 total


  • In Maryland P.G. County Circuit Court what does the "CAL" before the case number translate to?

    This is a "Appeal" and I am the defendant

    George’s Answer

    Civil Action Law. In 1984 Maryland did a major revision to how lawsuits were handled. Before that time we had Law cases and Equity cases. The revisions unified the two forms intp a single civil action. But to distinguish between the two, PG decided to have CAL cases, CAE (civil action equity) cases, CAD (civil action divorce), CAS (civil action support) and even others.

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  • Are there any online databases where someone can look up case files regarding probate issues in PG County, Maryland?

    I want to read all the papers filed in specific dockets in the Orphan's Court pertaining to certain probate issues in order to find the right lawyer for the job.

    George’s Answer

    Mr. Scherr is right on. All you can get online are the docket entries (a docket entry is a brief label for a document, such as an Inventory). If you want to see the actual document, there are only 2 options: (1) go to the office of the Register of Wills on the 4th floor of the old courthouse wing in the courthouse in Upper Marlboro or (2) order copies of the documents from the Register of Wills at a cost of $0.50 per page. In a normal situation there is a 3d option - requesting copies from the Personal Representative. I gather from your question that isn't an option.

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  • Does a Maryland estate administrator get compensated from the assets of an estate, such as a percentage from the sale of a house

    Sister administrator claims she is entitled to extra money for selling mom's house.

    George’s Answer

    Unless a Will provides a higher amount (a very rare occurrence), a Maryland Personal Representative is entitled to a Personal Representative's Commission. But it must be either consented to by all of the heirs or approved by the Court. What's very important is that the amount cannot exceed 9% of the first $20,000 of the estate plus 3.6% of the remainder.
    So for example for a $220,000 estate the maximum possible amount would be
    9% of $20,000 = $1,800 plus
    3.6% of $200,000 = $7,200
    Total = $9,000.
    Keep in mind this is not automatic and must be justified to the heirs to get their consent or to the Court to get court approval.
    Many years ago before the statute was changed, there was a provision for a different percentage if real estate was sold but that provision ended with the revision of the law. The percentages above came into effect on January 1, 1992 - 22 years ago.

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  • Can I transfer a Deed using a Power of Attorney in Maryland?

    I have a 2013 Maryland full durable power of attorney that states I can transfer real estate on behalf of my mother. She is incapacitated (understands some things but not very well). Can I use the power of attorney to transfer the property/deed in...

    George’s Answer

    Generally, a Power of Attorney can be used to transfer real property in Maryland. In such cases the Power of Attorney gets recorded on the land records. However, if the transfer is a gift, the Power of Attorney must include the authority to make gifts. They typically do not include such authority. I add this last sentence because you indicated the transfer would be to you which makes me suspect it will be a gift.

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  • "Contested Wills," "Contested Trusts and Estates" and "Probate Litigation" are all Fields of Practice. Who should I hire?

    Martindale list the above as different fields of practice that attorneys specialize in. 1-What's the difference between the three Fields of Practice? 2-Aren't all three fields litigation contest work? 3-If I con...

    George’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    When a person dies, their estates may be handled under a Will through the probate process; under a trust in accordance with the death distribution provisions of the trust, or, where there are both probate and trust assets, by both methods. In the probate area, there can be litigation over a multitude of matters: Will contests, issues about who can be PR, whether all the property has been inventoried, whether the PR is doing the right thing, whether an accounting is accurate, etc. Some attorneys will handle minor litigation issues in the Orphans' Court, but would not consider a Will contest jury trial in the Circuit Court, much less an appeal to one of our appellate courts. If an attorney indicates "contested wills" I would expect that attorney to be willing and able to handle a Circuit Court jury trial. But, that's not necessarily true because Martindale allows us to pick the categories. The solution is for you to ask the lawyer. A contested trust issue goes to the Circuit Court. So, I expect that an attorney who lists that, would have no hesitation to do either a contested probate (Will) or trust matter. I think "contested wills" would in most instances be a subset of "conested trusts and estates" as would "probate litigation" I expect some attorneys would consider "contested wills" to be a subset of "probate litigation" and some would consider it wholly different. Many "litigation" attorneys handle probate and trust litigation but you'll find that very few concentrate (we MD attorneys cannot ethically us the word "specialize" except for limited practice areas) their practice in that field. There are many differences between an Orphans' Court and the Circuit Court. Simply put, the litigation that occurs in the Orphans' Courts is generally far simpler with relaxed (and sometimes) no rules of evidence. (Many MD Orphans' Court judges are lay people without legal training). Your 4th question is the most difficult because it depends upon the lawyer - some would say yes to all areas and some would say yes to fewer than all and ask which court. Once you've selected at least 3 candidates, I suggest you call each and ask them for their experience. Also keep in mind that there is far more to selecting an attorney than simply experience. The chief complaint by clients to disciplinary bodies about their attorney is lack of communication. An attorney well experienced in all of these fields who is a bad communicator would lkiely be a bad choice.

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  • Do I need a lawyer

    Recently my father passed. After my brother and I finalize his funeral arrangements we were presented with a typed will from our cousin stating his assets , insurance policy, bank accounts , money goes to her. This will is definitely not legal but...

    George’s Answer

    Some probate things can be handled by people on their own without a lawyer. This is not one of them. What you outline could be as simple as ignoring the "Will" if it was not properly signed or for some other reason. Or, you could have the beginning of a Will contest. You should promptly arrange for a consultation with a local lawyer familiar with probate matters.

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  • What steps do I need to take to get a Power of Attorney?

    My parents are elderly and their doctors are telling me to get a Power of Attorney so that someone could be able to make decisions for their well being. Do I just fill out a certain form of do I also need a lawyer?

    George’s Answer

    You could fill out a form but if you screw things up it's likely you won't find out until it's too late to make corrections. If you screw things up, you may end up having to do a court ordered guardianship. The legal fees for a guardianship case can easily be over $3000. On the other hand, the cost to have a lawyer review your parents' estate planning and do the necessary paperwork should be far less.

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  • My attorney just passed my case off to another lawyer in his firm, without my consent. My trial is tomorrow. What can I do?

    I hired my lawyer a couple months ago based on several criteria including his experience and confidence that we could win my case. When I went in to his office today for an appointment I was told would be with him, I met a young lady, who says she...

    George’s Answer

    Right now call the lawyer you hired and tell the lawyer you want him. If you can't reach him call the lawyer you met with and ask her to get you in touch with him and explain your lack of confidence to her. If all else fails, consider having the young lawyer ask for a continuance. You should also check your retainer agreement as some lawyers include a provision that services might be provided by another lawyer in the firm.

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  • What does this mean "I give ten percent of the value of my residuary estate divided into three equal shares" ?

    My great great aunt left a will that states that and my grandmother is the personal representative. We need clarity on that statement. Does it mean that each of the three people receive 1/3 of 10% or that each person receives 10% of the total. Tha...

    George’s Answer

    I believe it means 10% divided into 3 parts or 3.33% to each. A good test is to look at the total for the remainder. If my interpretation is right, I would expect the remaining total to be 90% not 70%

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  • Does Estate Agreement stating Tenant-in-Common Heirs will list Property for Sale violate all other Tenant-in-Common rights?

    My sister (the PR) & I are having my mother's Estate deeded to us as Tenant-in-Common owners in order to prevent Appointed Trustee Auction Sale which will bring nothing as far as fair market value. My sister/her attorney have the following provisi...

    George’s Answer

    It's highly unlikely that any lawyer would answer these kinds of questions without being retained. The answers depend upon a review of exactly what has happened to bring the matter to the point where the other side has sent an agreement for you to sign. While it may cost you several hundred dollars to retain a lawyer and get legal advice, you are dealing with property that I assume has significant value and this is not the kind of situation you want to try doing on your own.

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