Types of Probate Proceedings in Maryland

Probates are a vital step in the process of administering the estate of an individual who has passed on. There are several types of probate proceedings depending on the case facts, the assets, whether the decedent had a last will and testament and the dynamic of the family. Figure out what estate proceeding is well-suited for your particular case by contacting a Maryland probate lawyer.

Regular Estate

The most common type of estate proceeding is a regular estate. The difference between a regular estate proceeding and a small estate proceeding is the amount of the probate assets. A regular estate typically entails filing an inventory and information report and a very detailed accounting or accountings depending on the term of the estate administration.

Modified Administration

This is a procedure that can only be used in conjunction with a regular large estate and permitted only in certain situations. This is determined by the relationship of the beneficiaries or heirs to the decedent and whether or not the beneficiaries of the estate or trust are exempt from the inheritance tax. The Modified Administration procedure is much more streamlined procedure. It eliminates the necessity of filing a free-standing inventory and instead, just a final report is filed with the initial starting assets of the estate and the expenses of the estate.

Small Estate Proceeding

Small estate proceedings are very abbreviated procedures available for estates that do not meet the filing threshold for a regular estate. It frequently involves a one-time filing showing the assets of the estate and the debts or expenses of the estate. Publication of notice or a requirement for bond is determined by the ratio of assets to the amount of expenses and debt.

Petition for a Will of No Estate Proceeding

An administrative procedure when there are no estate assets but when the decedent died with a last will and testament. In Maryland, one is always required to file the original last will and testament with the Register of Wills office for the county where the decedent died.

The petition for a Will of No Estate allows you to file the original will and testament. For example, this can occur if somebody has a last will and testament but all of their assets have been titled during their lifetime or transferred during a lifetime to a trust. This can also occur when someone had a last will and testament but all of their assets are titled jointly or are beneficiary driven.

Judicial Probate

Judicial probate is triggered by facts or events of a case that require the court’s additional attention. Triggering events may include ambiguity regarding who may serve as Personal Representative or an objection to the appointment of the Personal Representative.

How an Estate is Opened in Maryland

The required documents necessary to open an estate are dictated by the facts of the case and the assets of the estate. Generally, initial pleadings are filed with the Register of Wills for the county where the decedent resided. If all is in order, the Orphans’ Court may appoint a Personal Representative without the necessity of a court hearing.

In the event of judicial probate, a court hearing might be required in order to appoint a personal representative. If judicial probate is required, the appointed Personal Representative, if any, is reduced to the status of special administrator. The special administrator has limited powers to continue the administration of the estate until either the issue is resolved and is returned to full Personal Representative status or a new Personal Representative is appointed.