The death of a loved one is always a tragedy. In the aftermath of your loved one’s passing, it is expected that family members, significant others, and close friends will grieve, pay respects to the deceased, and share stories and memories. Unfortunately, there are legal aspects of a death that must be dealt with as well. These legal issues may require you to open an estate and begin the process of probate in Maryland. Probate can be a lengthy and time-consuming process and may even lead to rifts within the family, lawsuits, and more. Here are the ways that a Maryland probate attorney can help!
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of proving the will and of property distribution upon a person’s death. During probate, a personal representative or “executor” is appointed to handle such matters as locating property and debts, paying taxes and bills, and administering assets to the beneficiaries. It is important to understand that probate is a legally required process in the State of Maryland, under many circumstances.
Don’t Ignore Probate
Maryland probate is typically required whether there is a will or not. If you have a will and the decedent owned assets, typically valued at $50,000 or more, probate is the process that must be taken to transfer the assets. Moreover, Common problems that families run into by not timely starting the probate process include the following:
- Missing tax filing deadlines and incurring fees and penalties;
- Creditors have more time to make claims against the estate;
- Assets can be turned over to the Maryland unclaimed property division instead of being distributed to beneficiaries; and
- There may be harsh penalties for the executor themselves.
These issues can easily be avoided through effective estate planning or by ensuring that the probate process is properly handled in a timely manner, with the guidance of an experienced probate attorney to help the executor navigate this process with minimal stress and expenses. You can download the Free Guide to Probate in Maryland to learn more.
When Probate is Not Necessary
In Maryland, probate can only be avoided with effective estate planning. If the probate assets are under $50,000 or under $100,000 if they pass to a surviving spouse, the estate can qualify as a “small estate.” Instead of going through the regular probate process, the assets can go through a statutory small estate proceeding, which often closes within a couple of months instead of a year for a regular probate. While the average American dies with $62,000 of debt, according to CBS News, that does not mean that probate, or a small estate proceeding, can be avoided, as it is required to transfer the assets to the heirs.
Call an Experienced Maryland Probate Lawyer Today
Probate in Maryland should be handled in a professional and timely manner. Whether you are the executor to the estate or not, an experienced Maryland probate attorney can help! Contact the lawyers at Frame & Frame for assistance. Call us at 410-255-0373 to schedule a free consultation today.