In order to serve as the personal representative of a Maryland estate, the personal representative must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Of sound mind
Who Cannot Serve As a Personal Representative In Maryland?
Maryland law prohibits certain people from serving as a personal representative. In addition to persons younger than 18 and mentally incompetent persons, a person who has been convicted of a “serious crime” cannot serve as a personal representative in Maryland, unless the person demonstrates that they have good reason to serve.
A “serious crime” means a crime that reflects adversely on an individual’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to perform the duties of a personal representative and includes crimes such as fraud, extortion, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, and theft. See MD Estates and Trusts Code Ann. § 5-105.
Non-US citizens are also prohibited from serving as the personal representative unless they are:
- The spouse of the decedent;
- An ancestor of the decedent;
- A descendant of the decedent; or
- A sibling of the decedent.
A full time judge of a Maryland or United States Court, a clerk of court, or a register cannot also not serve as personal representative unless the person is the surviving spouse or is related to the decedent within the third degree. See Who Are Next Of Kin In Maryland?
Can a Nonresident Serve As a Personal Representative In Maryland?
Yes, a nonresident of Maryland can serve if they have filed an irrevocable designation of an appropriate person who resides in the State on whom service of process may be made in the same manner and with the effect as if it were served personally in the State on the nonresident.
Who Has Priority To Serve As Personal Representative In Maryland?
Maryland law provides that in granting letters in administrative or judicial probate, or in appointing a successor personal representative, or a special administrator, the court and register shall observe the following order of priority, with any person in any one of the following paragraphs considered as a class:
(1) The personal representatives named in a will admitted to probate;
(2) The personal representatives nominated in accordance with a power conferred in a will admitted to probate;
(3) The surviving spouse and children of an intestate decedent, or the surviving spouse of a testate decedent;
(4) The residuary legatees;
(5) The children of a testate decedent who are entitled to share in the estate;
(6) The grandchildren of the decedent who are entitled to share in the estate;
(7) Subject to §§ 3–111 and 3–112 of this article, the parents of the decedent who are entitled to share in the estate;
(8) The brothers and sisters of the decedent who are entitled to share in the estate;
(9) Other relations of the decedent who apply for administration;
(10) The largest creditor of the decedent who applies for administration;
(11) Any other person having a pecuniary interest in the proper administration of the estate of the decedent who applies for administration; or
(12) Any other person.