Practice Areas

Trusts & Estates practice in Maryland

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Estate Planning

While many think of estate planning as having a Will or Trust, there are other valuable estate planning tools that are critical as part of one’s estate plan to address circumstances when one is no longer able to act on their own behalf or requires assistance in managing their financial affairs and healthcare needs.

A Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive are two documents that address one’s financial and healthcare needs in the event they are no longer able to act for themselves or find that they need assistance in taking action.


Types Of Estates

In Maryland, there are several types of estates:

Small Estate– An estate for a decedent who owned probate assets with a gross value of $50,000 or less (or $100,000 or less if the sole heir or legatee is the surviving spouse) in his/her name alone.  For estates with decedent’s who died before October 1, 2012, different values are applied.

Regular Estate-An estate for a decedent who owned probate assets with a gross value in excess of $50,000 (or $100,000 if the sole heir or legatee is the surviving spouse) in his/her name alone. For estates with decedent’s who died before October 1, 2012, different values are applied.

Will of No Estate: An estate for a decedent who had a will but had no assets in his/her name alone at the time of their death.

Modified Administration: A streamlined version of a Regular Estate available to the Personal Representative (in estates where the decedent died on or after 1/1/98) when the residuary legatees/heirs consist of no one other than the Personal Representative, spouse and children and other inheritance tax-exempt heirs. In lieu of an inventory and an account, the Personal Representative is required to file a final report within 10 months from the date of appointment.


Probate

What is Probate?

Probate is the Court supervised administration and distribution of the assets that a decedent owned in their name only at the time of their death. Property that is jointly owned with rights of survivorship, accounts that have beneficiaries named (other than one’s estate) do not go through the probate process. 

In Maryland, the probate is supervised by the Orphans’ Court.  In estates where the decedent died with a Will (testate), generally, the individual nominated in the Will petitions the Court to open the estate.  In estates where the decedent died without a Will (intestate), Maryland law will dictate who has priority to petition and open a decedent’s estate.

The Probate Process

The nature of estates going through probate varies in complexity and length of time to administer but most estate requires the following steps at minimum:

  1. The proposed Personal Representative of the estate must file a petition for probate, along with other necessary forms, with the Register of Wills in the County where the decedent lived at the time of their death. 
  2. Accompanying the petition to open the estate, the proposed Personal Representative must provide the Register of Wills with an original death certificate of the decedent and an original Last Will and Testament of the decedent, if one exists.
  3. Once appointed, the Personal Representative will need to identify and marshal all of the decedent’s assets, locate the beneficiaries of the estate, identify any remaining creditors of the decedent, pay outstanding debts, court fees and taxes, and ultimately distribute the net assets to the beneficiaries under the terms of the Will or pursuant to Maryland’s laws of intestacy.

Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Karasik Law Firm, LLC
3800 Howard Avenue, Suite 2
Kensington, Maryland 20895