Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Register of Wills

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Here is an office that not many people think about unless they have had a death in the family.  Even then if one is not charged with overseeing the estate of a loved one one might never have a reason to to think about this elected position.  If a loved one doesn’t have a will then survivors will become very familiar with this office.

I have a co-worker who was the primary care giver of her Aunt.  Upon her Aunt’s death she spent a lot of time working with the Montgomery County Register of Wills to straighten out the estate.  She said that the help they provided was priceless.

Our current Howard County Register of Wills is Kay Hartleb.  She has held this office for many years and the reason being is that she has done a fantastic job.

What does the Register of Wills do?

The Register of Wills is responsible for appointing personal representatives to administer decedents’ estates and for overseeing the proper and timely administration of these proceedings. We also perform the following duties: assist and advise the public in the preparation of all required forms; maintain and preserve the permanent record of all proceedings; serve as the Clerk to the Orphans’ Court; track estates and refer delinquent matters to the Court; determine and collect inheritance taxes and probate fees/court costs; audit accounts of personal representatives and guardians; mail various notices and court orders to interested persons; and, verify compliance with court orders.

In short the Register of Wills is where one goes to register your will.  If the estate has no will they represent the decendents and the State in the distribution of the estate’s assets.

In a time such as the death of a loved one and where the oversight of the distribution of an estate’s assets are concerned I can think of no other more qualified person to fill this role than Kay Hartleb.

Throughout her tenure we have never had a hint of scandal or problems.  That is because of the office staff and Kay Hartleb’s leadership.

Kay has lived in Howard County for 45 years, is married with 3 children and 7 grandcildren.  She has conducted post graduate studies in Advanced Estate Administrationm, and is on the Executive Committee of the Maryland Register of Will’s Association and a Member of the Maryland Judges of the Orphans’ Court Association.

Kay is running for re-election and if experience counts in any race it counts in this one.

In 2002 Kay did not have a challenger in the General Election because people know that this is one of the most effecient offices in Howard County.  It is tough to beat such a well respected person.

In 2006 Kay does have a challenger.  Mr. Lawrence Blickman.  he is a recent newcomer to Howard County who registered to run for the office on the last possible day.  On that day Kay Hartleb received a call from the Board of Elections.  They asked her a question to this effect.  “Mrs. Hartleb, their is a gentleman here who is asking what your position pays in terms of salary.”  If anyone asks I can produce witnesses.  I couldn’t believe it.  Is this guy fishing for a job?  Why didn’t he ask “What does the job entail?”

So, I believe it is in the best interest of all of Howard County residents to keep an experienced, dedicated and principled leader in the roll of Howard County Register of Wills and ask that you vote for Kay Hartleb on November 7th too.

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One Response to “Register of Wills”

  1. Jim Walsh said

    I can attest from personal experience that Kay Hartleb does an outstanding job as Register of Wills. Before Kay Hartleb crossed party lines to become a Republican, I crossed party lines to support Kay Hartleb in her 1990 re-election bid: the one and only time I ever attended a Democratic fund-raiser.

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