Maryland Probate FAQs
Do You Have Specific Questions About Probate in Maryland? Call Our Prince Frederick Law Office Today
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process through which a person’s estate is ‘settled’. In Maryland, a will must go through the probate process before it can be finalized. The process always takes place in accordance with the procedures set forth under state law. Among other things, probate may involve:
- Proving the validity of a will;
- Identifying the assets owned by the deceased;
- Getting an appraisal of the relevant property;
- Resolving any valid debts or liabilities; and
- Transferring assets to the appropriate beneficiaries.
What is the Difference Between Administrative and Judicial Probate?
As a general rule, there are two types of probate in Maryland: Administrative probate and judicial probate. The administrative probate process is for uncontested wills. Essentially, an uncontested will is simply one for which no party is challenging the validity. Put another way, every relevant party accepts that the will is legitimate. Judicial probate is generally for contested wills. In Maryland, wills can be contested for a wide range of different reasons — from multiple wills being discovered to questions being raised about changes that were made in the decedent’s twilight years.
In many ways, the administrative probate process and the judicial probate process will proceed in a similar manner. That being said, there are also some very important differences. Most notably, the judicial probate process typically takes far longer to reach a final resolution than does administrative probate. In some cases, judicial probate can take years.
Can I Avoid Probate?
Yes. It is possible for most of your estate to avoid probate. For a number of different reasons, you may want to avoid probate. This is because there are some drawbacks to the Maryland probate process. First and foremost, probate can sometimes drag on for a frustrating amount of time. It can take months — or even longer — for a will to make it through the probate process. Next, probate is public. If you and your family desire confidentiality, it best to look for an option that will allow for probate avoidance.
This raises the question: How do you avoid probate in Maryland? The answer is that it requires pre-planning. Once a person passes away, there may not be any options available to avoid probate. However, with comprehensive estate planning and trust planning, there are strategies available that can be used to keep most, or all, of your assets out of Maryland’s probate process. The sooner you work with a lawyer, the easier it will be to avoid probate.
Contact Our Prince Frederick Probate Attorney Today
At Meng Law, our Maryland estate planning attorney has extensive experience handling the full range of probate law matters. If you have questions or concerns about probate, we are here to help.
For a fully confidential consultation, please contact our law firm today. With an office in Prince Frederick, we handle probate law issues throughout the region, including in Barstow, Huntingtown, St, Leonard, Dunkirk, and Chesapeake Beach.