Serving clients in Rockville, North Bethesda, and Bethesda, Maryland since 2003

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of distributing the assets of an estate. The process would require identifying and collecting all of the estate’s property, debts and taxes. Any remaining assets will be distributed according to the terms of a Will if one exists or according to the “laws of intestacy” if a person dies without a will. Probate also may refer to the general process of opening and administering an estate after the death of a decedent.

Estate is the property owned by a person (including real estate, stocks or bonds, business interests, bank accounts, or tangible personal property such as a car, boat, jewelry or furnishings).

How long will the process take?

It generally depends on the size of an estate. For an estate consisting of few assets, the process can often be taken care of in less than 60 days. Larger estates can take months or even up to one year, and creditors have the right to sue for recovered funds for up to one year. Will contests and other difficulties can also prolong the process.

Does all property have to go through probate when a person dies?

The answer is No. Property jointly owned with another, passes to the survivor automatically upon the death of the first. Also, bank accounts with a named beneficiary don’t pass through probate. Finally, any asset owned by a trust doesn’t pass through probate.

What are the reasons to hire a Probate Lawyer in Maryland?

A Maryland Probate attorney will help facilitate the legal process known as probate, during which an estate’s assets are transferred to beneficiaries.

  • Making a list of all probate and non-probate assets (for example, assets that have been placed in a trust and are therefore not subject to probate).
  • Working with an appraiser to determine the value of the decedent’s assets.
  • Preparing and filing probate court documents on time.
  • Determining whether estate and inheritance taxes will be required and how they should be paid.
  • Helping to sell estate property or re-title it in the name of a beneficiary.
  • Offering advice on the payment of any outstanding debts.
  • A probate lawyer can help mediate between family members and mitigate family conflict.

Contact Our Experienced Maryland Probate Lawyers

Everyone’s situation is different and the answers to the questions may change depending on the facts of your case. An experienced probate attorney can help simplify the entire process and guide you through it in a manner that reduces stress and anxiety for all involved parties.

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