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Who Is Entitled to the Proceeds of a Maryland Survival Claim?

A survival claim belongs to the deceased person, survives them, and the right to bring it vests in the personal representative and their estate. If the claim is successful, any amounts awarded become the property of the estate, and are distributed according to the terms of the will. 

If there is no will, the proceeds, and the estate, are distributed according to a statutory scheme known as “intestate succession”. This distribution chain can be complex. Generally, if there is a surviving spouse, and children, the distribution is fairly straightforward. If there is a surviving spouse, he or she is entitled to a large portion of the estate, and the size of that portion depends on whether or not there are also children, or other lineal descendants called “issue”. The concepts of “issue” and “representation” per stirpes can be complex legal matters best discussed with an attorney in a confidential setting. If there are no children or other surviving lineal descendants, and no surviving parents, the spouse receives the whole recovery. If there is a surviving minor child, the spouses share is one-half. If there are no surviving minor children, but surviving adult children, or other lineal descendants , the spouse’s share is $ 40,000 plus one-half of the balance.  If there are no surviving issue but a surviving parent, and the surviving spouse and the decedent had been married for less than 5 years, the share is the first $ 40,000 plus one-half of the balance, and the whole estate if they have been married for more than 5 years. The rest of the recovery, exclusive of the share of the spouse, or the entire net estate if there is no surviving spouse, is divided equally among the surviving children, and potentially other lineal descendants, called “issue”, by “representation” as defined by the ESTATES AND TRUSTS Article.  

     -Source Md. ESTATES AND TRUSTS Code Ann. § 3-101 et seq.