Do All Wills Go Through Probate in Maryland?

If you are the personal representative of a loved one who recently passed away in Maryland, know that you will have to submit their last will and testament for probate.

All last wills and testaments must go through probate in Maryland. Personal representatives submit wills for probate and then are officially appointed to the role as executor. While all wills go through probate, some assets, such as insurance policies with designated beneficiaries and property within trusts, do not go through probate. To put a will through probate, you must submit it to the court along with additional forms and information, like a list of interested persons and an inventory report, detailing the assets listed in the will. Probate can be a long process, depending on the specific case. To make things easier, prepare for probate by reviewing the decedent’s will in detail with our lawyers.

To get help with your case from our Maryland wills and estate planning lawyers, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Do All Wills Have to Go Through Probate in Maryland?

After a person dies, their last will and testament will be submitted for probate. During this time, the document will be assessed for its validity, the personal representative will be officially appointed, and assets will be distributed among beneficiaries listed in the will.

All wills go through probate in Maryland. If you have a last will and testament, your personal representative will submit it to the court for probate upon your death. Our Annapolis, MD wills and estate planning lawyers can help your personal representative file the necessary forms with the court to initiate probate proceedings.

Before probate, a personal representative should be reminded of their responsibilities regarding how a testator would like their assets to be handled and distributed among beneficiaries. Essentially, personal representatives need to be prepared for probate.

Even if a decedent does not have a will, their solely-owned assets and property will go through probate, provided they are not already in a trust or passed on in some other fashion. Since the decedent does not have a will in this case, the probate court will distribute assets according to Maryland’s intestacy laws, which vary depending on what surviving family the deceased had.

So, yes, all wills have to go through probate in Maryland. Testators should be aware of this when writing their wills so that they can plan accordingly.

Does All Property Go Through Probate in Maryland?

Just because all wills must go through probate in Maryland does not mean that all property must go through probate. You can exclude certain property from probate proceedings by taking certain steps.

Testators can place certain assets into trusts so that their beneficiaries do not have to deal with the hassle of going through probate. Living trusts can be created at any point during your life by executing a declaration of trust document and retitling property put into the trust. Property will then be transferred to beneficiaries according to the stipulations of the trust. You can make it so property is transferred to a beneficiary when they reach certain life milestones, like graduating college or getting married, or upon your death.

Jointly-owned property does not go through probate. If a person dies and they own property with another person, like their spouse, that individual will likely retain ownership of that property in Maryland.

Things like pensions and life insurance policies that have designated beneficiaries will pass to those beneficiaries without the need for probate. Other insurance policies or benefits that are payable to beneficiaries upon your death will not need to go through the probate either.

If you do not specifically place property in a trust and it is not otherwise excluded from probate, it will likely go through probate, even if it is not included in your will. Because of that, it is important to assess your assets and property and decide how you would like them to be handled after your death so that you can avoid probate wherever possible if that is your wish.

How to Put a Will Through Probate in Maryland

The forms personal representatives must submit and the procedural requirements of probate they must follow are complex. Our attorneys can help you put a will through probate so that the process goes as smoothly as possible in Maryland.

Probate can differ depending on the size of the decedent’s estate. Small estates generally have assets valued at $50,000 or less. Estates valued at $100,000 with surviving spouses are also considered small estates in Maryland. Regular estates are generally those with assets valued upwards of $50,000 when there is no surviving spouse. Personal representatives dealing with small estates must file a petition for probate with Schedule B attached, while those dealing with regular estates must file a petition for probate with Schedule A attached.

Personal representatives must also consent to their appointment to the role, provide copies of testators’ death certificates, and provide proof of execution of a will in certain circumstances. Personal representatives also have to submit a list of interested persons, which includes those named in the will and those who would be set to inherit if there was no will. This must be done within 20 days of initiating probate and being officially appointed as a decedent’s personal representative, according to Md. Code, Ests. & Trs. Art., § 7-104.

Personal representatives must submit an inventory and information report to the probate court detailing the assets and property listed in the testator’s will.

Probate fees vary, but small estates are not subject to probate fees in Maryland. Personal representatives must meet additional forms and deadlines to ensure probate takes place according to their desired timeline.

Call Our Maryland Lawyers Today

Call the Baltimore wills and estate planning lawyers of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free case assessment.