What to Do With a Will After a Person Dies in Maryland Probate

By Jennifer Williams

Probate in Maryland is handled by the Maryland Orphans' Court, which has jurisdiction to decide what property belongs to the estate, and to decide whether a will is legal under Maryland law. Forms for most steps of the probate process are available for download via the Maryland Registry of Wills website. The registry also provides detailed procedural instructions for anyone who wants to navigate the probate process without an attorney.

Probate Process

Probate is the process of distributing a person's property after his death according to his wishes as recorded in his last will, or, if the person died without a will, according to Maryland law. Before opening an estate in court, it is necessary to determine what type of probate is necessary. Regular estates are required to proceed through the entire probate process while small estates in Maryland can go through a quicker, simpler process called modified administration if all the heirs agree. Regular estates total at least $30,000 in assets after expenses, or at least $50,000 if the surviving spouse is the only heir. If the decedent's estate qualifies as a regular estate, a full and formal probate is required.

Opening the Estate

If the individual made arrangements for a particular person to oversee the property distribution as the personal representative of the estate, then that person must take the will to the Maryland Registry of Wills and open the probate process by filing the appropriate forms and paying the court fee. If no personal representative was assigned by the deceased, either before death or in his will, then any relative can open the probate proceeding.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Appointing a Personal Representative

The probate process begins with a petition for the appointment of the personal representative to oversee the probate process. Anyone who knows the deceased wanted him/her to act as the estate personal representative may request that the court give her the designation, or a family member may ask the court to assign the duty to someone, usually a relative or a bank that specializes in estate probate.

Opening the Estate

Once the court appoints a personal representative, that individual opens the probate proceeding by filing a Petition for Administration, a form Schedule A and the decedent's last will in the Orphans' Court in the county where the decedent lived when he died. The personal representative must also post a bond before she may act as the personal representative. Unlike some other jurisdictions, Maryland does not allow the will to relieve the representative from having to post a bond.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Probate an Estate in Maryland


Related articles

Death Without a Will in Michigan

Under Michigan law, when a person dies without a will, it is said the person died intestate. The law has rules for what happens to a person's property when a person dies without a will. These rules are necessary because there is no will to provide direction as to how the deceased wished to distribute his property. The probate court will distribute property that was not owned jointly, as well as property that did not have a named beneficiary, according to Michigan law.

How to Apply as an Administrator of an Estate

In probate law, the terms executor, administrator and personal representative are often used interchangeably. Administrators settle the estate of a deceased person, known as a decedent, and they apply for the position. Although court fees are involved, administrators are often compensated for their duties from the assets of the estate.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Living Trust or Last Will in Florida

Estate planning involves taking steps to protect your assets for your family’s benefit. It allows you to manage your assets and ensure that they are distributed the way you want them distributed upon your death. The two primary estate planning mechanisms in Florida are a last will and testament, or simply a will, and a living trust. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

New Jersey's Probate Estate Laws With an Executor Fee

Being asked to settle a deceased person's estate can sometimes feel like taking on a second job. In addition to the ...

Michigan Death Estate Settlement Procedures

When someone dies, her estate must be settled. The settlement process includes following the terms of the will, paying ...

How to File a Will & Testament in Florida

A will describes how the person writing it -- the testator -- wants his property to be distributed when he dies and ...

Does a Will in Arizona Have to Go Through Probate?

If you die with a valid will in Arizona, an Arizona probate court will typically oversee the administration of your ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED