If you are appointed a personal representative for someone who has passed away, it is your responsibility to administer their estate. You may feel overwhelmed by the process and the numerous requirements involved.
The estate administration process in Maryland involves several steps. It is important to follow the steps in order and complete each step thoroughly.
The process involves many deadlines
You can begin the estate administration process at any point; however, once you start, there are deadlines you must adhere to. The deadlines differ, depending on the size of the estate. Working with an estate planning attorney once you start can help you stay on track.
The first step is to find all the estate planning documents, such as the will. The will must be filed with the Register of Wills.
Documents to file
Next, you must file a petition to probate the estate with the local court. You will receive letters of administration from the court allowing you to act as personal representative.
You must next file a list of interested persons. This is a document listing the names and contact information of all heirs. You must also send a notice to any creditors the deceased person had or any unknown heirs.
The heirs are the people named in the will, or, if there is no will, they are people who would inherit under Maryland’s Intestacy Law. These may include spouses, children or parents.
Reports to file
Inventory and information reports must then be filed. An inventory report lists all of the estate’s assets with their values on the date of death. An information report lists assets that were held jointly or had a designated beneficiary.
After these reports are filed, you must file your first account of the estate. This includes the estate’s value and all activity that has been conducted.
Claims against the estate
Creditors can file claims against the estate. Claims must be filed six months after the death or two months after receipt of a notice to creditors is sent.
You can file additional accounts, if necessary, and a final account must be filed once the assets are ready for distribution. This is after any claims against the account have been settled.
Every situation is different. There is no set time for how long the entire process will take but following the steps and meeting deadlines can make it as smooth as possible.