Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

BE on the Register of Wills

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I don’t think this Baltimore Examiner article by Luke Broadwater did Lawrence Blickman any favors.

Kay Hartleb has run Howard County’s Register of Wills for 20 years in a fashion that’s won her praise from other courthouse insiders.

Nevertheless, her challenger, Lawrence Blickman, said the time has come for a change.

“I don’t really know much about her,” Blickman said Tuesday. “But it’s time for new face in there and new ideas.”

Hartleb said her opponent, a Clarksville resident, is completely unqualified for the job, which entails serving as the clerk of the county Orphans’ Court and assisting residents with their wills.

“He has no experience,” she said. “He’s never even been in the office.”

Under Hartleb’s tenure, the Register of Wills has received perfect audit reports and become the first office of its type in Maryland to make all of its records accessible by computer.

Hartleb’s office is well-run, said Howard County state’s attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan, who is not speaking for his office.

“The people there are very caring at a sensitive time for people who lost a loved one,” he said.

A Republican, Hartleb said she will continue to advance the office, if elected again.

“I have a proven record that I run an efficient, knowledgeable, friendly office and can help people who have lost a loved one effectively through the probate process,” she said. “You can only do this if you have a knowledge of many complex laws and rules governing administering estates.”

But Blickman, a Democrat who inspects Maryland funeral homes with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the office is lacking in providing education to the public about the importance of maintaining a will.

“I feel there needs to be more community outreach,” he said. “The public needs to be educated. Police, fire and medical personnel need to understand how important it is to plan ahead. Death can happen to anybody.”

But Hartleb said her strong record should prompt residents to vote for her.

“I’ve proven that I can administer the office and help them,” she said. “People are only impressed with what you have done, not what you say you’re going to do. I’ve run the office in the most efficient, cost-effective way.”


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