Qualifying as a Personal Representative in Montgomery County

A personal representative is the person who acts on behalf of the estate throughout the probate process. There are two ways to qualify as a personal representative in Montgomery County and the specific process depends on whether the decedent had a will.

A well-versed probate lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify and what steps you must take to be appointed. They can then help guide you through the probate process so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Qualifying as a Personal Representative

In Maryland, the person who has been named in a will in order to administer the estate of the person who created the will is referred to as the personal representative. The personal representative can also be someone who has not necessarily been named in the will to serve but can be appointed by the court. The personal representative plays a large role in the probate process because they are the one who will act on behalf of the decedent’s estate and determining what is in the best interest of the state. They have certain responsibilities and duties they must follow otherwise the court will remove them from their position.

Regardless of whether the person is named in a will, an individual becomes a personal representative by court appointment. The process entails filing a petition with the court to establish themselves as personal representatives. They would also have to show to the court that they have priority to serve. If they do not have priority to serve, the people who do would need to give their consent to that person being appointed as personal representative.

In order to be a personal representative in Maryland, someone needs to be 18 years of age or over, have a clean criminal background, be a US citizen or legal resident if the personal representative is the decedent’s spouse, and be able to qualify for a bond. An attorney can further explain how to qualify as a personal representative in Montgomery County.

Does the Person Need to Be a Blood-Relative in Montgomery County?

Regardless of whether an individual leaves a will, a personal representative does not have to be blood-related to the decedent. If a person does leave a valid will, the person who is nominated in the decedent’s last will and testament would be the one with priority to serve. Even if the will named someone who is not biologically related to the decedent, the individual who is nominated would have priority over someone who was biologically related.

If an individual died without a Last Will and Testament, then the Maryland laws of intestacy provide an order of priority of individuals to serve as personal representative. Often lineal descendants have priority to serve as Personal Representative, but non-related creditors can serve in some circumstances as well.

Adopted and Step-Children

When someone dies without a will, an adopted child is viewed the same as biological children in terms of priority to serve as a personal representative. However, a biological child would have priority to serve as a personal representative over a step-child.

An Attorney Has Answers About Qualifying as a Personal Representative in Montgomery County

You may want to consider contacting a probate lawyer once you are nominated as a personal representative in a will or if you wish to serve as one if there is no will. A lawyer can help you understand how to qualify as a personal representative in Montgomery County as well as what the role entails. To learn more, call today for a consultation.