“Is Probate in Maryland Always Required?” by Attorney Colleen Sinclair Prosser (please click on link for full article)
Many people are under the impression that assets are immediately transferred to your heirs after you die if you use a last will and testament to state your final wishes. In reality, the heirs do not receive their inheritances right away because the will is admitted to probate after your passing.
Probate can be briefly defined as the legal process of estate administration. The heirs that are named in the last will may not be the only interested parties. Close relatives who are not named in the will may be contacted upon an opening of a probate. If there are outstanding debts the creditor must be notified about the decedent’s passing. Plus, the court examines the will to make sure this it is valid. The property that would pass through the probate process is property that was in the decedent’s sole, direct personal possession at the time of their passing. A simplified probate process can be utilized if the estate is valued at $50,000 or less, and $100,000 or less if the surviving spouse is the only inheritor. Maryland also has a Modified probate proceeding in certain circumstances. All property transfers are not subject to the probate process. Payable on death accounts, property held in joint tenancy, life insurance proceeds and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and assets titled in a revocable living trust, avoid the probate process.
Probate is not inherently negative, but it is time consuming and there can be additional fees and expenses during the probate process. If you would like to learn more about probate and probate avoidance methods, schedule a consultation with a qualified estate planning attorney, attend one of our Free estate planning seminars https://www.sinclairprosserlaw.com/seminars/ and visit our website for more information on trust administration and probate https://www.sinclairprosserlaw.com/services/annapolis-md-trust-administration-probate/