3. Limited Jurisdiction – Statutory Framework
Estates and Trusts Article §2-102 sets forth the jurisdiction of the Orphans’ Court:
“(a) Powers. The court may conduct judicial probate, direct the conduct of a personal representative, and pass orders which may be required in the course of the administration of an estate of a decedent. It may summon witnesses. The court may not, under pretext of incidental power or constructive authority, exercise any jurisdiction not expressly conferred.”
To a large degree, the Maryland Constitution and statute begs the issue of the limitations on the jurisdiction. Indeed, one cannot determine the jurisdiction of the Orphans’ Court without first knowing the scope of probate. Thus, it has been largely left to court decisions to articulate the jurisdiction of the Orphans’ Courts.