Estate Administration & Probate
What is probate?
Probate is a court procedure which transfers property the deceased owned into the hands of his/her descendants or beneficiaries.
What does probate do?
Probate has two functions, it gets creditors paid and it gets property owned by the deceased retitled to the land of the living. It also gives relatives and friends the opportunity to bring suits against those who claim your property.
If the deceased person has a Will, is probate still required?
If the deceased person had a will, the probate process is still required and involves the court validating that will. In the old days when someone died, you would have to get someone else to say “Oh yes! That is John Smith’s signature”. This is not how it works now, if you have two witnesses and a notary it is presumed to be valid. After the court verifies the will, the person’s assets are then transferred to his/her beneficiaries.
What if the deceased person did not have a will, how will their assets be transferred?
If the deceased person died without a will, all of his/her assets will go through the probate process and transfer to his/her heirs under the laws of the state of Maryland, unlike a will which instructs the disbursement of his/her assets.
If the deceased died with a trust, is the probate process required?
If the deceased person had a revocable living trust in place and placed his/her assets into the trust, the assets will not have to go through the probate process and will be disbursed by the trustee according to the instructions of the trust, not under the law of the state of Maryland.
How long does the probate process take?
Probate can take anywhere from 6-18 months, it varies depending on the size and complication of the estate.
How much does probate cost?
The cost varies depending on the state laws and taxes. Maryland varies based on the amount of the estate.
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