The probate process in Maryland does not have the best reputation. Many people have probably heard from at least one source that it is cumbersome, expensive or stressful.
However, probate is the legal means for settling up an estate. In the probate process, the court will confirm whether a will is valid, appoint an executor to manage the affairs of the estate and distribute the property.
When all is said and done, the executor should have gathered and valued the estate’s property, paid off taxes and all other valid claims against the state and distributed the excess either under the will or according to Maryland’s laws.
There is an expedited probate process available for smaller estates worth less than $50,000.
For most estates, the process takes several months from start to finish. For high-conflict situations or estates which are large or present special complications, probate can take years.
The overall costs will vary depending on the size of the estate, but families should expect to spend thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars on costs and fees.
Not every piece of property has to go through probate
It is important to remember, though, that many types of property legally do not necessarily pass through a deceased person’s estate and thus not always go through the probate process.
Examples of this type of property include certain types of bank accounts and jointly held real estate, as well as the proceeds from life insurance and the cash value of many retirement accounts. Trusts are also generally not subject to probate.
But many people will still have some experience with the probate court
Ideally, people who want to avoid probate will use estate planning to make use of the legal ways around the probate process. However, for a lot of reasons, many families will wind up dealing with a probate attorney. Having a legal professional with extensive knowledge of probate practice can make the process go more smoothly.