Annapolis Estate Administration Attorney
Ideally, we all have a will in place before we die. But, according to a study done by Caring.com, only 42 percent of Americans have estate planning documents. Sometimes, even though a person has a will, it will not be a complete inventory of their assets, or it may not be up to date. Estate Administration is the legal process every deceased person’s estate must go through to ensure proper accounting of assets prior to distribution to heirs, taxes, or creditors. If your loved one has passed away, our Annapolis estate administration attorneys will work through each step alongside you to make sure that we have an accurate assessment of all assets, that we minimize tax implications, and that you are following Maryland estate law.
Exceptions to an Estate
There are assets that are not included in an estate by law when a person dies, and therefore they avoid the probate process. Examples of this can include:
- Joint tenancy property – If the spouse survives the deceased and they owned property together, then the property passes to the surviving spouse and becomes part of their estate.
- Proceeds from life insurance – Many life insurance policies already have named beneficiaries. If that is the case, the beneficiaries need to file a claim application and copy of the death certificate to receive payment. If there are no named beneficiaries, then the benefits are paid to the estate and distributed according to the will.
- Property held in trust – Property that is held in trust must be distributed according to directions in the trust document. This property is technically owned by the trust, not the deceased party, and thus it is not included in their estate even though they may have been a beneficiary of the trust or the trustee.
- Retirement accounts – Accounts such as a 401K, IRA, CD account, or annuities are similar to life insurance policies in that they have a beneficiary named.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help With Estate Administration
During estate administration and probate, an attorney can help with the following processes, including:
- Properly advertising the estate to creditors so that they can make claims against the estate;
- Preparing and filing all legal forms;
- Notifying all retirement accounts, pension providers, etc.;
- Gathering an accurate account of all assets and their worth;
- Filing estate tax returns;
- Distributing the estate after probate; and
Maryland has a special court, the Orphan’s Court, which handles wills, estates, probate matters, and limited aspects of guardianship. An attorney can also represent you should there be any disputes over the estate that need to be handled in Orphan’s Court.
Contact Frame and Frame, LLC For Annapolis Estate Administration
When a family member or loved one passes away the grief period can be challenging, not to mention taking care of their estate. The estate administration attorneys at Frame & Frame are well-versed in all of the steps required to successfully execute a will, go through probate, pay estate taxes, distribute assets, and more. Having our qualified attorneys overseeing the estate administration can ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently. Contact our Annapolis offices for a free initial consultation at 410-255-0373.