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Estates and trusts — Estate taxes — Calculation of deduction

Walter L. Green died in 1993, but his son and widow are still fighting over his assets. In 2012, Judge Adkins writing for the Court of Appeals in Green v. Nassif, stated that the Court was “put[ting] to an end decades of litigation by a personal representative attempting to secure an unfair portion of a multi-million dollar estate for himself and his sister.” 426 Md. 258, 262 (2012). In that case, the estate had been open for 19 years. Id. Four years later, the controversy has wound its way back to this Court, again. Apart from the sheer volume of papers and filings involved in this case, because of the length of this estate’s lifespan, we must apply and interpret statutory and case law a quarter of a century old. We emphasize that this is not a situation—a 23-year old estate—that is encouraged by the law, which favors “the avoidance of all unnecessary delays in the settlement of decedents’ estates.” Matthews v. Fuller, 209 Md. 42, 56 (1956) (citations omitted).

In their respective appeals and cross-appeal, the parties, Carlton Green and Helen Nassif, have presented a combined 12 questions for our review. Several of these issues are duplicative, and many interrelate. We will address every question the parties have presented, but we have distilled from their briefing the four primary issues presently at controversy in this appeal:

1. Whether the circuit court erred in its calculation of the enforceable claims of the net estate and whether the circuit court erred in denying Carlton Green an equitable adjustment.

2. Whether the changing fraction method or the fixed fraction method should be applied in the administration of this estate.

3. Whether the circuit court erred by deducting the estate taxes from the estate at the end of administration, rather than as they were paid.

4. Whether the circuit court erred in striking Carlton Green’s second amended complaint.

Read the opinion here: