Bethesda Probate Court
Probate in Bethesda can be a complicated process and as such there are many complex considerations to take when going through the probate process and through probate court in Bethesda. For these reasons, it is important to work with a probate attorney to help explain and streamline the process.
Bethesda is located in Montgomery County, Maryland. Generally, the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court oversees probate matters. However, it is important to note that the Register of Wills Office is integral in the probate process. As such, the Register of Wills is where all pleadings are filed and also serves as the first point of contact for an estate administration.
In Montgomery County, there are no set Orphans’ Court judges. Instead, the Circuit Court judges cycle through the docket on the Orphans’ Court. This can be very interesting, as some judges in Montgomery County may have more experience with administering estates than others, simply because they have been on the probate docket for a longer period of time. In this way, the assigned judge for any given probate case is dependent on the current docket and the timing of the case. Other counties in Maryland have dedicated Orphans’ Court judges. This means that a probate case will necessarily be assigned to one of only a handful of judges.
Because the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court is comprised of Circuit Court judges who are on the probate docket for a given period of time, these judges may hear various kinds of cases, depending on the other dockets on which they serve. For example, some of the judges on the orphan’s court docket may have come from civil dockets, criminal dockets, or landlord-tenant dockets, prior to serving on the probate docket.
It is important that all individuals be respectful of Bethesda probate court. Additionally, no weapons are allowed into the courthouse, and it is generally advisable that individuals dress appropriately for the court.
Role of an Executor
The executor, or Personal Representative, is the person who has the fiduciary obligation to administer the estate. Generally, this obligation entails marshaling all of the assets of the estate, paying any legally enforceable debts, filing any necessary income or tax returns, and making a plan for distribution of the assets pursuant to the decedent’s last will and testament or pursuant to the laws of Maryland intestacy.
Role of a Lawyer
A probate attorney can assist with all aspects of probate. Such an attorney assists by initially identifying who has priority to serve as the Personal Representative. Once such an individual has been identified, a probate attorney will help them with the necessary pleadings to be appointed to serve. After their appointment, the attorney can assist with marshaling all the assets by creating an inventory of the estate and by valuing the assets for both probate purposes and estate tax purposes.
Such an attorney can help by evaluating debts and expenses and by identifying professionals who may be of help in the probate process, such as realtors. They can also represent the executor before the orphan’s court, if necessary. Additionally, a probate attorney can take responsibility of any required court reporting, such as any accounting or final reports mandated by Bethesda probate court.