This entry covers the following subjects:
- Charter and Constitution
- Corporations and Other Business Entities
- Estate Administration
- Landmark and Historic Properties
- Legal Encyclopedias and Other Research Resources
- Lobbying Reports
- Local Laws
- Newspapers and Journals
- Opinion Letters
- Power of Attorney Forms
- Real Estate
- Tax Forms and Other Legal Forms
- Tax Liens
- UCC Filings
Maryland State Charter and Constitution
The colony of Maryland was granted to Caecilius Calvert, the Baron of Baltimore, in the Charter of Maryland in 1632.
The State of Maryland has adopted four constitutions, the original Constitution of 1776, followed by new Constitutions in 1851, 1864 and 1867.
The current constitution is a much-amended version of the Constitution of 1867. An online edition of the current Constitution - including the Declaration of Rights - is included in the Maryland Manual. Unannotated electronic editions are also available on Lexis (MD;MDCNST), Westlaw (in MD-ST, the unannotated Code of Maryland database), Fastcase and LOIS. Annotated versions of the current Constitution are available in the "Constitutions" volume of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland, and the electronic equivalents on Lexis (MD;CODE) and Westlaw (MD-ST-ANN).
You can find historical editions of the Maryland Constitutions in old editions of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland (the "Maryland Code"). Historical editions going a few years back are available on Lexis, Westlaw and Fastcase. To get copies from older editions, contact the Maryland State Law Library (888-216-8156 in Maryland; 410-260-1430 outside Maryland) or one of the other libraries listed in the "Libraries" section, below.
For more information, see The Maryland Constitution: A Reference Guide by Dan Friedman (Greenwood Press/Praeger, 2006), which explains the history of the Maryland Constitution and provides commentary on each article.
Corporations and Other Business Entities
You can look up companies -- to find out if they are licensed in Maryland, if they are still active, who is the registered agent -- using the Charter Record Search posted by the State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT). Click on the "Amendments" link to see a list of available filings. Filings made since 2002 are available online in PDF format. Older documents filed with SDAT are available from the Corporate Charter Unit.
Before SDAT started accepting business filings, charter documents were filed with the relevant county (or Baltimore City). You may be able to get copies of these early charter documents from SDAT, from the relevant county and/or from the Maryland State Archives.
You can order Certificates of Good Standing through the SDAT Web site at https://sdatcert1.resiusa.org/certificate_net/. The SDAT Certificate indicates that a company is licensed to do business in Maryland. Note: The Comptroller of Maryland also issues "Good Standing Certificates" (formerly "Tax Clearance Certificates"). The Comptroller's certificate indicates that a business has paid all its state taxes. Information on ordering a Comptroller's Certificate is posted here.
You can find out the officers of a Maryland company by getting a copy of the first page of the company's personal property tax return, which is publicly available from SDAT. To get the rest of the return, however, you must give SDAT a written request on the company's letterhead, signed by a company officer whose name was included on the company's last filed return.
The names of corporate shareholders is not public information. You can check the SDAT filings to see if any shareholders are mentioned, and you can look for litigation to see if the shareholders are named in a lawsuit.
Information for companies that want to do business in Maryland is posted at http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/charter.html.
The Maryland Secretary of State posts a Maryland Charities Database.
The Maryland Board of Physicians posts a database of doctors that includes contact information as well as information on malpractice, criminal or disciplinary actions against the doctor (http://mbp.state.md.us/bpqapp/). To find out about about lawsuits not posted on the site, contact the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (410-767-8200 or 800-492-1951). See also the general entry for "Doctors."
The leading treatise on estate administration in Maryland is Gibber on Estate Administration (Maryland State Bar Association). The Maryland Attorney General posts a primer on Administering Estates in Maryland. Information about each county's Register of Wills is posted at www.registers.state.md.us.
Landmark and Historic Properties
You can look up landmark and historic properties in the Inventory of Historic Places, which includes nomination forms for the National Register of Historic Places (except for properties in Baltimore City). You can also search the Maryland's National Register Database and the National Register database posted by the National Park Service.
In addition, local governments can designate landmark properties and historic districts (e.g., Baltimore County has both a Landmark List and Historic Districts).
See also the "Real Estate" section of this entry, below.
Legal Encyclopedias and Other Research Resources
To find the elements of specific types of litigation under Maryland law, use Pleading Causes of Action in Maryland, which is available in most Maryland law libraries (discussed below).
For a summary and discussion of Maryland law, see the multi-volume Maryland Law Encyclopedia. The Encyclopedia is available in print in most Maryland law libraries (discussed below) and on
on Westlaw (MD-ENC).
For questions about and copies of Maryland legal materials, contact the Maryland State Law Library (www.lawlib.state.md.us), the University of Maryland law library and/or the University of Baltimore law library.
Maryland government documents are available in the Maryland State Law Library, the "Maryland Department" of the Enoch Pratt Free Library and other Maryland Depository Libraries.
Maryland state colleges and universities share a unified catalog (http://catalog.umd.edu/F?RN=286159664).
Maryland lobbying reports are posted by the Maryland State Ethics Commission.
Following are links to online Municipal codes and charters for selected municipalities.
For more links, see lists of City Codes and County Codes posted by the Maryland State Law Library. If you still can't find what you need, search using a good search engine and/or call the municipality's legislative body or legal department.
Information on specific local governments follows.
Baltimore City: See the separate entry for "Baltimore City."
Baltimore County: New laws amending the Baltimore County Code are posted at www.co.ba.md.us/Agencies/law/recentlegislation.html. For questions about legislation call the Legislative Relations division of the Baltimore County Legislative Office (410-269-7760).
Montgomery County: The Web site of the Montgomery County Council posts bills and resolutions back to 2000 and 2005, respectively. The Council also posts Current Agendas, Packets & Actions by date. The Agendas include "Background Materials" on the bills passed. For questions, or to get older materials, call Montgomery County Legislative Information Services (240-777-7910).
Prince George's County: Bills and Resolutions are posted back to 1990 (http://egov.co.pg.md.us/lis/).
Newspapers and Journals
The leading general circulation newspaper in Maryland is The Sun, commonly called the "Baltimore Sun." Selected articles are posted on www.baltimoresun.com. You can search for articles free by adding "site:http://articles.baltimoresun.com" to a Google search. For more complete coverage and nicer printouts: Lexis has articles back to January 1, 1994 (MD;BALSUN); Westlaw and Proquest have articles back to September 1990 (BALTSUN). For older articles, the Enoch Pratt Free Library (410-396-5430) has print subject indexes covering 1891-1959 and 1983-1989, as well as a Death Notice Index covering 1837-1890.
Other key papers include The Capital from Annapolis, and the The Maryland Gazette, which includes coverage of the state government political scene. The Capital is available on Lexis back to January 2, 1994 (MD;CAPTL) and the America's Newspapers database (available through many public and academic library Web sites). The Washington Post and Washington Times also cover Maryland news.
The Daily Record covers Maryland legal news. Current articles and a searchable archive back to July 7, 2000 are available on the Record web site. Lexis has articles from 1995 to the present, with a few issues missing from 1997 and 1998 (MD;DLYREC) Westlaw has articles from August 1991 to April 1999, then from November 2002 to the present (DAILYREC). The Enoch Pratt index, discussed above, includes selected Daily Record articles from 1987-1989.
The Maryland Bar Journal is published by the Maryland State Bar Association and sent to all MSBA members. The Tables of Contents are posted free back to 1999. Full text articles are available on Westlaw (back to 2000) and WilsonWeb (back to 1999).
The leading business newspapers are the Daily Record (discussed above) and the Baltimore Business Journal. The Journal Web site offers an article archive going back to 1996 (http://baltimore.bcentral.com/baltimore/). For better searching, Lexis has articles from January 2006 to the present (NEWS;BALTBJ) and a historical database with articles from 1986 though November 26, 2004 (NEWS;BUSDTL). The Enoch Pratt index, discussed above, includes selected BBJ articles from 1987-1989.
For subject searching, Lexis has the broadest database of Maryland news (MD;MDNEWS). Westlaw's thinner equivalent is called MDNEWS.
The BBJ regularly runs lists of the largest Baltimore-area companies in various industries. The lists from each prior year are compiled in an annual Book of Lists. You can look up the issue where this years lists ran using the Editorial Calendar on the BBJ web site (hover your cursor over the "Home" tab and then choose "BBJ Editorial Calendar").
To find public notices (of court proceedings, foreclosures, unclaimed property, etc.), try the current and archived public notice searches provided by the MDDC Press Association.
The Maryland Bar posts a number of documents discussing legal opinion letters on its Opinion Matters page. The Report on Lawyers' Opinions in Business Transactions includes sample "illustrative" opinion letters including the:
- Illustrative Business Transaction Opinion Letter
- Illustrative Real Estate Loan Opinion Letter - Long Form
- Illustrative Real Estate Loan Opinion Letter - Short Form
- Illustrative Share Issuance Opinion Letter
- Illustrative Corporation, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, Company, or Real Estate Investment Trust or Business
Power of Attorney Forms
If you need a Maryland Power of Attorney form, you will want to use one of the statutory forms you can find for free in Title 17 of the Estates and Trust Article of the Maryland Code (§17-101 et seq.). Maryland law requires that everyone, including banks and other financial institutions, accept these forms. Take any other Power of Attorney form to a Maryland bank and you'll probably find the form isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
If you have an address, you can look up the owner using a free database posted by the Department of Taxation and Assessment. If you have a person's name and want to find his or her property holdings, you have to use a commercial database such as Accurint, KnowX, or the public records databases on Lexis or Westlaw.
Deeds and other land records are available through MDLandRec.Net. Some may still be available through ELROI,
the older, subscription-based, dial-up system. Otherwise, you have to get copies and do title searches at the relevant county courthouse.
Land plats are available from Plats.net, although Baltimore City includes plats in its Real Property tax database. The Planning Department posts Comprehensive Plans for various neighborhoods and regions.
If you are looking to identify homes for sale, try www.homesdatabase.com and www.opf.com. For more complete results, contact a Realtor with access to the Multiple Listing Service.
For property tax information, see the Tax section of "Maryland - Executive Branch - Agencies and Offices." See also "Landmark and Historic Properties," above.
Tax Forms and Other Legal Forms
Individual tax forms from 1996 to the current year are posted at http://individuals.marylandtaxes.com/taxforms/default.asp. Business tax forms are posted at http://business.marylandtaxes.com/taxforms/default.asp.
Maryland domestic relations legal forms and other family law forms are posted by the Maryland Judiciary.
See also "Power of Attorney Forms," above.
Federal and state tax lien are recorded with the Circuit Court for the relevant county. They should show up in the Maryland Judiciary Case search (exception: no P.G. county), but check with the relevant Circuit Court to be sure. Note: The records generally go back to the late 1990s, but you can check for individual counties.
The Maryland Secretary of State's office posts a database of Trademarks & Service Marks.
Uniform Commercial Code filings are handled by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). You can search for and retrieve images of UCC financing statements using SDAT's UCC Record Search.
UCC filings related to real property (financing statements, releases, etc.) are filed with the Land Records division of the Maryland Circuit Court for the relevant county. You can search for and retrieve images of these filings through MDLandRec.Net.
UCC financing statements related to automobiles may be filed with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. You can get copies from the MVA by calling Hylind Search Company, Excel Associates (410-822-0378), Driving Record Facility (410-761-5510) or another local document retrieval service.