Knowledgeable Rockville, Maryland Probate Attorney
Losing a loved one can be emotionally difficult. However, there are a number of important decisions that will have to be made during this overwhelming time — including how the decedent’s estate will be distributed. Probate is the legal process of settling a decedent’s estate and dispersing the property to their heirs or beneficiaries.
Probate proceedings are required for most estates in Maryland and are highly structured. It’s essential to have a skillful probate attorney by your side who can help you navigate the legal process. Serving clients in Rockville and throughout Montgomery County, Attorney Henry Nash is committed to guiding clients through the Maryland probate process and assisting clients with estate administration matters.
What is Probate?
Probate is the court-supervised process by which property and assets that were owned by a person who is now deceased are transferred to their beneficiaries. If there is a will, the assets are distributed based on its instructions. If there is no will, the estate will be distributed in accordance with state law. Based on the complexity of the estate, the probate process can be time-consuming, sometimes lasting a year or more.
Although probate is required in most cases, there are some exceptions that apply to small estates. For instance, if the probate assets amount to less than $50,000 (or $100,000 if they are being passed to a surviving spouse), the “small estate” proceedings may be utilized. There is also a “modified estate administration” process that can be used for certain cases. This procedure allows an estate to be closed within 10 months from the appointment of the personal representative, and no court involvement would be necessary.
Every probate proceeding is unique and involves different facts and circumstances. Attorney Henry Nash has a deep understanding of the nuances and intricacies associated with the Maryland probate process. Providing personal time and attention to each client, he will evaluate the specific facts of your case and determine the best course of action to ensure your matter is handled efficiently and effectively.
What Happens During the Maryland Probate Process?
When someone passes away, their last will and testament must be filed with the Orphan’s Court in the county in which they resided to determine whether it is valid. This ensures that the decedent’s wishes, as outlined in the document, are honored. Importantly, not all property must go through the probate process — only the assets that are solely in the decedent’s name.
To start the probate process, a petition must be filed with the court. Once this has been done, the judge will either approve the executor named in the decedent’s will or appoint a personal representative if no one has been named, or they do not wish to serve. Upon their appointment, the executor or personal representative must:
- File a list of interested persons with the Register of Wills within 20 days
- File a complete inventory of the decedent’s assets and property within three months
- File an Information Report within three months that includes all assets that are not solely in the name of the decedent, or assets that have a designated beneficiary
- Prepare and file a first account within nine months, which details what happened to estate funds during the course of probate
Creditors and any interested parties may file claims against the decedent’s estate within six months from the decedent’s date of death, or two months after they receive the “Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors, Notice to Unknown Heirs.” In addition, the personal representative or executor may also file subsequent accounts within six months of the date of approval of the prior account. Although there is no time frame in which a final account must be filed, the estate’s assets can only be distributed once it has been approved.
The probate process can be complex. But you don’t have to face it alone. Offering reliable representation and more than three decades of experience, Attorney Henry Nash walks with his clients every step of the way. From assisting with identifying the decedent’s assets to opening the estate and preparing accounts, we can help ensure the process runs smoothly and you have peace of mind that your loved one’s estate will be administered properly.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Probate Attorney
If your loved one passed away and you have been named or appointed to serve as the personal representative of their estate, it’s vital to have the representation of a diligent probate attorney. Attorney Henry Nash understands how difficult the aftermath of losing a loved one is and how stressful the probate process can be. Striving to relieve your emotional and legal burdens, The Law Office of Henry Nash provides adept counsel for probate and a wide variety of estate matters in Maryland. Contact us online or call (301) 998-6111 to schedule a consultation at our Rockville Office.