Administering a Probate Estate in Maryland
Maryland’s Estate and Trusts Article §2–102 allows an individual cited in a will to act as a personal representative or a person with an interest in a will to file a petition in the relevant probate court. Upon filing a petition for administration, a probate court arranges a date for proving that the will is valid. Property does not pass until the will is proved in probate court. An estate planning attorney can help throughout the administration of the estate.
Types of probate administration
In Maryland, an interested party can petition the register of wills to appoint a personal representative and probate of a will as provided in §5–603. A personal representative’s duties and powers commence upon the issuance of the letters of administration. Maryland law establishes restrictions on the right to letters of administration, which exclude the following persons:
- Individuals under the age of 18
- Mentally incompetent individuals
- Individuals convicted of a serious crime
- Individuals who are not citizens of the United States, with limited exceptions
Once the personal representative is appointed, a schedule with mandatory filing deadlines is created. For example, the personal representative is required to create a list of the decedent’s creditors and provide notice of the death. In addition, the personal representative must provide notice of the appointment, create an inventory and information report, and offer an accounting.
There is also a streamlined version of administrative probate referred to as Modified Administration, which is available if the decedent died on or after October 1, 1997 and:
- The residual takers are limited to the personal representative and individuals or entities exempt from inheritance tax in the decedent’s estate
- All trustees that are residuary legatees are constrained to the decedent’s surviving spouse, personal representative and children
- The estate is solvent and there are sufficient assets to satisfy all testamentary gifts
This type of administration does not require the personal representative to create an inventory and accounting, but instead the representative must file a verified final report under modified administration. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can advise clients as to the best course of action and create a customized estate plan.
Whether you want to learn about the probate administration process or avoid it, Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. is dedicated to providing outstanding representation in these matters. The firm represents clients in La Plata and throughout southern Maryland.