If you are an individual who was chosen to administer a loved one’s estate, there is a good chance you will have to go through the probate process. If you are wondering what probate is, or what the probate process looks like, here are some of the questions you may have:
What is the purpose of probate?
Essentially, the purpose of the probate process is to ensure that your loved ones’ will is valid. In Maryland, probate matters are handled in the Orphans’ Court. According to the Orphans’ Court, the only time that the decedent’s property must go through probate is if it was in his or her name exclusively. However, if the property is jointly owned by a survivor, he or she will receive that property instead–this will generally avoid the probate process altogether. To start the probate process, the executor of the estate must provide the Orphans’ Court with the most recent version of the decedent’s will.
What are simplified probate proceedings?
Since many are stricken with grief after the passing of a loved one, the state of Maryland offers a simplified probate process under certain circumstances. If the assets required to go through probate are valued at less than $30,000, the estate may be considered a “small estate.” From here, small estates are typically closed out within two months since no inventory needs to be filed and the Orphans’ Court does not need to approve Administration Accounts. This option is also available to surviving spouses who are receiving assets worth less than $50,000. Additionally, it is also worth knowing that there is another option as well. This is known as the “Modified Estate Administration” procedure, and through this, you may avoid the Orphans’ Court altogether, and you may even close the estate within 10 months.
What is the probate process like?
There are four involved steps you must take in the probate process. They are as follows:
- First, the will must be filed in the Register of Wills where the decedent lived at the time of his or her death. This must occur even if the will does not have to go through probate.
- Next, the personal representative of the estate will file a petition for probate, along with other necessary forms at the Register of Wills.
- The personal representative must locate the beneficiaries, pay outstanding debts, identify any remaining creditors of the decedent, create an account of all assets, and distribute the assets to all beneficiaries.
- Lastly, the personal representative will close the estate by filing a Certificate of Compliance.
Contact our Maryland firm
The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.