Maryland Wills Trusts & Probate

Our Probate Attorneys Help Families in Transition

Closing the affairs of a loved one who has passed away can be complicated. Probate is the process of transferring a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries and involves a court procedure. Legal requirements must be satisfied before assets can pass to the beneficiaries.

Let our Maryland probate attorneys help you through this process. Just give us a call. View our Maryland probate video FAQs or download our guides below:

Our Maryland Probate Attorneys Help People Through the Probate Process

The outcome of probate, that is, the inheritance and to whom it goes, depends upon the legal documents put into place by the deceased person before death. If there was a will, the probate court first decides its validity and names an executor. The settlement of creditor claims and helping families navigate the probate process provides comfort to survivors experiencing the grieving process. The deceased’s assets may pass to the heirs by beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement plans. If the designations are to people who have already passed on, those assets may have to go through the probate process and distributions must be approved by the court.

What do I do now? What are the next steps? The death of a loved one can be overwhelming. We can guide you through every step of the probate process. Some tasks we typically perform in the probate process include the following:

  • Assist Executors and Trustees
  • Order and Distribute Death Certificates to Creditors
  • Open the Estate and Obtain Letters of Administration
  • Deal with Creditors, Employees and Others
  • Organize an Appraisal and Sale of Property
  • Arrange for Donation or Sale of Household Furnishings
  • Obtain and File Probate Documentation
  • File Inventories and Administration Accounts
  • Defend Will Contests
  • Assist with Estate Tax Returns

What are non-probate assets?

Property outside of probate include assets like a family home that is owned as Joint Tenants because the surviving joint tenant becomes the owner of the entire asset. Another example is Tenancy by the Entirety where assets are owned by a married couple. Beneficiary Designations on assets is yet another example. These might include retirement accounts, life insurance policies, annuities, or certificates of deposit. These assets pass by operation of law to the beneficiary named by the owner prior to death. Finally, Payable (or Transfer) on Death Accounts (POD or TOD accounts) also do not pass through probate. Funds in bank accounts and brokerage accounts can also have beneficiary designations.

What is the difference between a small estate and a regular estate?

A small estate is an estate that is valued at $50,000 or less, unless the spouse is the sole heir, in which case, it would be an estate valued at $100,000 or less. A regular estate is an estate that is valued at $50,000 or more.

What are the exemptions from inheritance tax?

One exemption of inheritance tax is property that passes from a decedent to a grandparent, parent, spouse, child, spouse of a child, stepparent, stepchild, brother, sister, or a corporation if all stockholders consist of persons previously described herein, known as the lineal descendants. Another exemption is life insurance not payable to the estate of the insured. Other exemptions include grave maintenance passing under a Will, property passing to a non-profit tax exempt organization, property administered under a small estate proceeding, some property passing to any one person that does not exceed a value of $1,000, personal property of a non-resident of Maryland, income accrued on probate assets after the death of a decedent, and specific property that passes from a decedent to his/her domestic partner. The foregoing is merely a general statement. For specific details, contact our experienced Maryland probate attorneys today.

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