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Maryland Probate Attorney: The Maryland Probate Process

Each probate estate is unique, but most include the following steps:

1. File petition with the correct Maryland probate court
2. Notify the heirs under the Will, or the statutory heirs, if no Will exists
3. Petition to appoint the Executor (if there is a Will) or Administrator for the estate
4. Executor creates an inventory and obtains appraisals of all estate assets
5. Pay the estate’s debt to authorized creditors
6. Sell estate assets, if appropriate and directed by the Will
7. Pay estate taxes, if appropriate – the Will can direct which funds are used to pay taxes
8. Distribute assets to heirs as stipulated by Will – if there is not a Will, then Maryland law will determine how, and to whom, the estate assets are distributed

Cost and Duration of Probate

This depends on a number of factors such as the value and complexity of the estate, the existence of a Will or Trusts and the location of real property owned by the estate.

Will disputes or contests also can add significant costs and delays. Typical costs include executor’s fees, attorney’s fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds. These expenses can be from 2 to 7 percent of the total estate value. Some of these fees can be reduced or eliminated by having a properly drafted Will. If no litigation is involved, nearly all estates are settled through probate in nine to 18 months.

For a free, confidential conversation about the benefits of a Will or Trust and other probate avoidance or minimizing strategies, along with other estate planning matters, contact Maryland Estate Planning attorney Stephen J. Reichert at 410-299-4959, or here.