A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

MD General Assembly considers clarifying standards for Personal Representatives

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee has voted favorably on Senate Bill 321, which would define the term “serious crime” in the statute regarding prohibitions on certain individuals being appointed as Personal Representative in an estate.

Currently, Code Estates and Trusts Section 5, Article 105 does not allow a person who has been convicted of a “serious crime” to receive letters of appointment to serve as Personal Representative in an estate. The Code fails to define the term “serious crime”, which can lead to confusion when choosing someone to appoint as a Personal Representative in a Will, or when administering an estate.

If Senate Bill 321 (cross filed as House Bill 656) passes both houses of the General Assembly, “serious crime” would be defined as “a crime that reflects adversely on an individual’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to perform the duties of a Personal Representative”, including “fraud, extortion, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, and theft.”

SB321 and HB656 also address the definition of “serious crime” in regard to a Guardianship proceeding.

This bill was introduced during the 2013 General Assembly session as well, but stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. For more information on SB321 and to monitor its progress, please see the bill page here.