Probate Attorney in Bethesda, Maryland
When a loved one passes away, the surviving family may feel overwhelmed by the combination of their emotions and the need to handle the individual’s estate. In many cases, the individual who was chosen to administer the estate may have to go through the probate process. As soon as a loved one passes, it is important for the family to assess their knowledge of the individual’s estate plan. Did they have a will? Did they name someone to be the administrator of the estate? With the help of an experienced estate planning and administration attorney at JD Katz, many of these questions can be answered, including whether the estate must go through probate. Contact our firm today for skilled and compassionate legal representation for Maryland estate administration matters.
What is probate?
In the state of Maryland, probate matters are handled in Orphans’ Court. The purpose of the probate process is to prove that the will is valid. In Maryland, not all matters have to go through probate. According to the Maryland Orphans’ Court, the only time that the decedent’s property has to go through probate is if it was only in his or her name. If the property is jointly owned by a survivor, that individual will receive the property and avoid the probate process. It is also important to note that in Maryland, if a person has a will at the time of heir debt but there aren’t any assets solely in their name, the will does not have to go to probate. To start the probate process, the executor of the estate must submit the most recent version of the decedent’s will.
Simplified Probate Proceedings
The State of Maryland allows certain probate proceedings to take a more simplified route. This process is notoriously complex, so many grieving families welcome a simpler process. If the assets that are required to go through probate are valued at less than $30,000, the estate may be considered a “small estate.” These estates can typically be closed within two months because no inventory has to be filed and the Orphans’ Court does not need to approve Administration Accounts. The “small estate” option is also available to surviving spouses who are receiving assets worth less than $50,000. There is a second option that is known as the “Modified Estate Administration” procedure, which does not require the Orphans’ Court to get involved at all and can even close the estate within 10 months. If you have questions as to whether an estate may benefit from either of these options, contact JD Katz today.
The Probate Process
The probate process can be lengthy and complex, as there are a number of steps that must be taken in order to complete these proceedings. The steps that must be taken are as follows:
- The will must be filed in the Register of Wills where the decedent lived at the time of their death. This must occur even if the will does not have to go through probate.
- The personal representative of the estate must file a petition for probate, along with other necessary forms, at the Register of Wills.
- The personal representative must create an account of all assets, locate the beneficiaries, identify any remaining creditors of the decedent, pay outstanding debts, court fees and taxes, and finally, distribute the assets to all beneficiaries.
- Close the estate by filing a Certificate of Compliance.
Contact Our Firm
If you have been appointed the personal representative of an individual’s estate and have questions about the probate process, contact JD Katz today. Our firm will guide you through each step of the proceedings to ensure all matters are handled. Contact us today.