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Maryland Probate Attorney

While mourning for the loss of a loved one, the last thing on many people’s minds is probate, which is the official proving of a will in court. However, this is something that the executor of the will must be prepared to take on. Being an executor comes with a lot of responsibility, stress, and unfortunately, in some cases, contention among family members and even creditors. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that you speak with an experienced probate attorney before taking any more steps. The Maryland probate attorneys of Frame & Frame are here to provide legal assistance during this process to make sure that it runs as smoothly as possible, and that the executor carries out their duties properly and in the correct order.

Our Probate Attorneys Help Families in Transition

Closing the affairs of a loved one who has passed away can be complicated. Probate is the process of transferring a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries and involves a court procedure. Legal requirements must be satisfied before assets can pass to the beneficiaries.

  • The outcome of probate, that is, the inheritance and to whom it goes, depends upon the legal documents put into place by the deceased person before death. If there was a will, the probate court first decides its validity and names an executor.
  • The settlement of creditor claims and helping families navigate the probate process provides comfort to survivors experiencing the grieving process.
  • The deceased’s assets may pass to the heirs by beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement plans. If the designations are to people who have already passed on, those assets may have to go through the probate process and distributions must be approved by the court.

Let our Maryland probate attorneys help you through this process. Just give us a call.

A Maryland Probate Attorney is Here to Help You Through this Complex and Confusing Process

You have been given the duty as being the executor of the estate. Now what do you do? Tasks that we routinely assist clients with include the following:

  • Obtain and file probate documentation;
  • Defend will contests;
  • Organize an appraisal and sale of property;
  • Arrange for donation or sale of household furnishings;
  • Deal with creditors, employees and others;
  • Open the estate and obtain letters of administration;
  • File inventories and administration accounts;
  • Assist executors and trustees;
  • Order and distribute death certificates to creditors; and
  • Assist with estate tax returns.

Am I Dealing With a Small or Large Estate?

Unless the spouse of the deceased person is the sole heir, an estate is considered small when it is valued at $50,000 or less. If the spouse is the sole heir, a small estate is valued at $100,000 or less. And, a regular or large estate is valued at $50,000 or more. American retirees expect to leave their heirs a total of $177,000, according to CNN Money.

What is Exempt From Maryland’s Inheritance Tax?

  • Property inherited by the person’s:
    • Grandparent;
    • Parent;
    • Child;
    • Spouse;
    • Stepparent or stepchild;
    • Sibling; or
    • Corporation if all stockholders are exempt;
  • Property that passes to a non-profit;
  • Inheritance less than $1,000;
  • The primary residence of the deceased person;
  • The personal property of a non-Maryland resident;
  • Accrued probate assets when earned after the death of the decedent; and
  • More.

The Probate Process in Maryland – Frequently Asked Questions

What are non-probate assets?

Property outside of probate include assets like a family home that is owned as Joint Tenants because the surviving joint tenant becomes the owner of the entire asset. Another example is Tenancy by the Entirety where assets are owned by a married couple. Beneficiary Designations on assets is yet another example. These might include retirement accounts, life insurance policies, annuities, or certificates of deposit. These assets pass by operation of law to the beneficiary named by the owner prior to death. Finally, Payable (or Transfer) on Death Accounts (POD or TOD accounts) also do not pass through probate. Funds in bank accounts and brokerage accounts can also have beneficiary designations.

What is the difference between a small estate and a regular estate?

A small estate is an estate that is valued at $50,000 or less, unless the spouse is the sole heir, in which case, it would be an estate valued at $100,000 or less.  A regular estate is an estate that is valued at $50,000 or more.   

What are the exemptions from inheritance tax?

One exemption of inheritance tax is property that passes from a decedent to a grandparent, parent, spouse, child, spouse of a child, stepparent, stepchild, brother, sister, or a corporation if all stockholders consist of persons previously described herein, known as the lineal descendants. Another exemption is life insurance not payable to the estate of the insured. Other exemptions include grave maintenance passing under a Will, property passing to a non-profit tax exempt organization, property administered under a small estate proceeding, some property passing to any one person that does not exceed a value of $1,000, personal property of a non-resident of Maryland, income accrued on probate assets after the death of a decedent, and specific property that passes from a decedent to his/her domestic partner.  The foregoing is merely a general statement. For specific details, contact our experienced Maryland probate attorneys today.

Contact a Maryland Probate Attorney Today

According to research published in the journal Ageing and Immunity, it was found that the recent loss of a loved one may leave a survivor more vulnerable to infectious disease, especially if they are elderly, as reported in The Atlantic. People have always felt an almost physical blow when they are stricken by grief, and this new evidence supports that there is a physical change, in the immune system at least, for people who are grieving for the loss of a loved one. Now is not the time to take on the monumental task of probate alone; let the Maryland probate attorneys of Frame & Frame lend a hand by contacting us today for a consultation.

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