Distributing the Estate to Heirs or Beneficiaries in Bethesda

There are many considerations to take when distributing an estate in Bethesda. The manner in which assets are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries depends on whether or not a decedent had a last will and testament, whether or not those assets were prefunded into a trust, and whether or not those assets had a payable on death or transferable on death beneficiary or a joint owner. Because the process can be complex, an experienced estate planning attorney will be essential in helping someone go through the process of distributing their estate to their heirs or beneficiaries in Bethesda.

Interested Persons

An interested person is an heir pursuant to Maryland law of an individual and is also any of the names by the case and decedent’s last will and testament. One of the reasons an interested person may choose to exercise their rights more forcefully is in the event that interested person believes that the personal representative in charge of the estate is mismanaging or delaying the administration process of distributed to heirs or beneficiaries in Bethesda.

The rights of interested persons are limited depending on whether or not the interested person is also an heir or fiduciary, meaning they actually have some entitlement to any of the assets from the estate.

Rights of Interested Persons

A common misperception is that an interested person believes they have an opportunity to manage the assets of the estate because they are an interested person. That is the personal representative’s job. The personal representative may listen or consider the opinions of interested persons. However, they are not required to get approval for every decision before it is made. Some interested persons are entitled to accounting. They have an opportunity to object to an accounting or file exceptions to the accounting if they are entitled with some questions.

Relations of an Estate Within Fifth-Degree

The laws of intestacy come into effect when a decedent dies without a last will and testament with assets in their sole name. In regards to relations to the fifth degree, Maryland laws attempt to find heirs to the estate prior to the estate escheating to the State of Maryland.  If there are no heirs to the fifth degree then the estate proceeds may be turned over to the State of Maryland. In determining heirs in the fifth degree, the lineal bloodlines of the decedent are examined when distributing assets to heirs or beneficiaries in Bethesda.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are frequently governed by beneficiary designation. In many cases, a beneficiary designation determines where a retirement asset is distributed in Bethesda.  If a retirement account has a beneficiary designation, then it would pass by operation of law outside of the probate process. However, the value of the assets is still necessary so that the personal representative can determine whether any estate taxes are due.

Beneficiary Designation

A beneficiary designation is an agreement between an individual and a financial company to pay the proceeds of an asset to the named beneficiaries. These are most often used in retirement accounts or life insurance policies. It is common to have named beneficiaries on those types of financial assets when distributing assets in Bethesda.