Maryland Estate Administration
Unfortunately, either someone in your family or a friend has passed away. On top of funeral preparations, spending time with family, and your own grief, you are now worried about handling their estate. You may be trying to petition the courts to become the personal representative.
Perhaps you have already been named as the personal representative, either in the will or by the courts. You may not know what this means, let alone what to do first. You may not even know what Estate Administration is! You are overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks in front of you. And you’re probably thinking, “now what?”
If you are:
- Trying to petition the court to become the personal representative of an estate
- Already the personal representative, but unsure where to start
- Unhappy with how an estate is being administered
…then you have come to the right place!
We understand what you are going through, and we know estate administration. We know how important it is to handle an estate with care, so you can spend your time focusing on family, grief, and healing.
To learn more about what estate administration is, the Maryland estate administration process, and the benefits of hiring an estate administration attorney, keep reading!
What is Maryland Estate Administration?
When someone dies, all of their possessions (land, money, personal belongings, stocks, etc.) become part of their “estate.” Estate administration is the process of handling and organizing a deceased person’s estate and affairs.
Estate administration can include:
- Petitioning the court to become the personal representative
- Gathering and organizing the deceased person’s assets
- Filing wills and other documents with the court
- Following court proceedings and procedures
- Challenging how the estate is being handled
- Closing bank accounts and canceling credit cards
- Notifying credit agencies
- Making sure the person’s debts are paid
- Paying their final taxes
- Collecting the money from their life insurance policy
- Distributing their remaining assets to their beneficiaries
Depending on how large or complex the deceased person’s estate is, this might be just the start–especially if the estate has to go through extensive probate court proceedings.
An estate is administered according to the Last Will and Testament of the person who passed away, if one is available. Otherwise, it will be administered according to Maryland statute. In essence, estate administration is gathering and distributing the deceased person’s assets according to their estate plan, if one is available.
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Why Hire an Estate Administration Lawyer?
The death of a loved one is hard enough. And now you are worried about handling their estate.
You will have to find the deceased person’s will, if available, and various other documents–and file them with the Maryland probate court. You will have to file a death certificate. You will have to petition the court to become the personal representative. And that’s just the start.
As the personal representative, you will have to make sure your loved one’s taxes and debts are paid, follow court proceedings, inventory the deceased person’s assets, and distribute their assets. This is especially difficult if their estate is large, complicated, or has a lot of moving parts. It’s a lot to handle during a very stressful time.
An experienced Estate Administration Lawyer can help you by:
- Petitioning the probate court to become the personal representative
- Providing guidance and support to you in your role as personal representative
- Helping to inventory assets
- Managing the administration of debts, expenses, and taxes
- Overseeing the distribution of the deceased person’s estate
- Advising on what to do if the person’s will is contested or if there is no will at all
- Holding your hand each step along the way of the estate administration process
The Maryland Estate Administration Process, Step-By-Step
One of the biggest reasons that someone hires a Maryland estate administration attorney is to guide them through the estate administration process, which can be complicated and overwhelming. Here is a simpler rundown of the process, but even this is a lot to handle on your own:
Step 1: The person passes away
Step 2: The estate planning documents, such as the will, are located
- If you have their will, you must file it with the Register of Wills
- If you have been named as the personal representative in the will, you may go ahead and petition the court to probate the estate
- If you cannot find a will, view Maryland law on the Order of Rights of Letters
Step 3: File a petition to “probate the estate”
- Once an estate is opened the clock starts ticking
- If no personal representative is named in the will, one will be appointed by the Maryland probate court
- You have to determine if it is a small or regular estate
- The court will then issue Letters of Administration to the personal representative, giving them control over the management of the estate
Step 4: List of interested persons (within 20 days)
- A “List of Interested Persons” must be filed with the courts
- If there is a will, the list should include the names of all beneficiaries
And this is just the start! The remaining 5 steps include filing various different types of reports, keeping track of due dates, dealing with creditors who file claims against the estate, and more.
Does this sound like a lot?
That’s because it is a lot for anyone!
You might have to prepare funeral arrangements, take family photos, write an obituary, welcome family members coming into town, and more–not to mention taking space and time for yourself to grieve and heal.
We know that this is not how you want to spend the little time that you have!
That is why hiring a competent, experienced Maryland estate administration attorney is one of the best moves you can make.
Benefits of Hiring an Estate Attorney
- Keep track of all the assorted deadlines and requirements each step of the way, so you don’t have to
- Gather all of the documents needed throughout the process, so you can stress less
- Oversee all of the court proceedings, so you can save time
- Take tasks off your plate so you can focus on your family, your healing, and the things in life that really matter
“What should I do first?”
The best option for wherever you are in the estate administration process is to contact an attorney.
Whether you are trying to petition the court to become the personal representative, have already become the personal representative and are not sure where to start, or are just generally unhappy with how the estate is being handled–contacting an attorney should be your first move!
An experienced Maryland estate administration attorney can help you along each step of the way.
Hiring an experienced Maryland Estate Administration Law Firm will help save you time and take tasks off your plate, so you can focus on the things that really matter.
Maryland estate administration is a complicated process–with a LOT of moving parts, especially if you are handling a large or complex estate, have to go through probate court proceedings, or there is no will. Don’t go through this process alone. Let an experienced estate administration law firm help!
PathFinder Law Group is an experienced Maryland Estate Administration Firm
We have helped scores of families in Maryland to settle their estates with care, compassion, and ease.
At PathFinder Law Group, we understand the complications that happen with Maryland Estate Administration. We have experience working with all sorts of estates, from small to large, from easy to complex.
What a Client Had to Say:
“We trust PathFinder Law Group with what is most important to us–our family and the assets we have worked hard to accumulate. Adam is an exceptional attorney and we will continue to recommend him to others” -Shannon
PathFinder Law Group is Here to Help
Estate administration is a challenging process during an especially tough time in your life. Let PathFinder Law Group handle the Maryland estate administration process so you can focus on grieving, your family, and the things that really matter.
Contact PathFinder Law Group Today or call us at (443) 579-4529 for a free consultation.
Maryland Estate Administration F.A.Q.
What is the difference between administrator, executor, and personal representative?
- There isn’t a difference except for the language used in different jurisdictions.
What is a last will and testament?
- The legal document that names the personal representative and states how they want their assets to be distributed when they pass away.
What is an estate?
- Someone’s entire net worth, including land, possessions, financial securities, and cash.
What happens to someone’s property when they die?
- Their estate will be disbursed according to their estate plan, if one is available. If there is no available estate plan, the estate will be distributed following Maryland law.
- Either way, their property will go through the Maryland estate administration process.
What is a small estate affidavit in Maryland?
- A Maryland small estate affidavit is a document from someone who believes they have a legal right to part or all of a deceased person’s estate.
What are beneficiaries or legatees?
- Anyone chosen to receive part or all of the estate, often named in the deceased person’s will.
What is a list of interested persons?
- A list of the names and addresses of the deceased person’s heirs.
What is an estate plan?
- An estate plan includes details about how a person’s assets will be distributed, debts and taxes will be paid, and who can make decisions on their behalf.
- It generally includes a Last Will and Testament.
What is probate?
- Probate is the process where someone’s assets are transferred once they pass away. Their assets are often reviewed by the Maryland Probate Court before being distributed.
- The probate court first looks to see if the person has a will that can be subject to probate.
- “Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets” -Bar Association
What are non-probate assets?
- Assets that don’t need to go through the probate process, such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies.
- These assets will go directly to the beneficiaries.
- Usually, assets held in trusts are exempt from the probate process.
Who becomes the “personal representative” if no one has been named?
- It will be decided by the probate court.
- The personal representative is usually a family member or friend. But it can be an attorney or financial institution as well.
What is a small vs regular estate?
- Small estate – the assets add up to under $50,000 or, if everything is going to the surviving spouse, $100,000.
- Regular estate – the assets add up to over $50,000.
What is the letter of administration?
- The letter of administration is the legal document that appoints a personal representative, issued by Maryland Probate Court. This document demonstrates the personal representative’s authority.
What if there is no will?
- If there is no will, the details will be decided in the Maryland Probate Court by following Maryland state law.
- The assets will be distributed to those family members of the deceased in accordance with the rules of “intestate succession.”
How long does it take to settle an estate?
- It depends. Simple estates may be settled in approximately 6 months. More complex or larger estates could take several years.