Rockville Probate Lawyer
Probate is the official process of proving a will. The process involves organizing assets, paying creditors, and transferring all remaining property in the decedent’s name to their beneficiaries.
If you are seeking a legal guidance through the probate process, choosing the right Rockville probate lawyer may be essential. A skilled lawyer experienced in trusts and estates law can help you during one of the most difficult times of your life.
Office of Register of Wills
The State of Maryland established the Office of Register of Wills to oversee the proper and timely administration of an individual’s estate upon death. The office also has the power to appoint a personal representative to administer an estate. The Office’s primary duties include:
- Auditing guardians and personal representatives
- Determining and collecting inheritance taxes and probate fees
- Maintaining permanent records of all probate proceedings
- Mailing court notices to involved parties
- Tracking estates
- Verifying compliance and referring delinquent matters to the courts.
The Office of Register of Wills also provides safekeeping of wills for living persons.
Sometimes individuals leave behind assets in a different state from where their death occurred. For example, a person who passed away in California might leave behind a condo in Rockville, affecting the probate process. This is where ancillary probate comes in. Ancillary probate outlines probate proceedings for assets in states outside of where the deceased resided full-time.
In this scenario, a local probate lawyer could help the deceased’s loved ones by opening an ancillary estate with the Office of the Register of Wills. Another option is to file an Application to Fix Inheritance Tax. Once approved, the out-of-state executor would be granted authority to transfer ownership of the assets to the appropriate beneficiaries.
Rockville Probate Disputes
There are various kinds of potential probate disputes. For smooth probate proceedings, it is important to understand these situations and how they can be resolved. A nearby attorney could ease the process by assisting with any probate issues that may arise. Common disputes include:
People dispute wills for many reasons and may question its age, the decedent’s mental state when it was drafted, or other details about its validity. When one or more family members decide to dispute the will, the document may need to be proven in probate court.
Fraud in the Inducement
When a relative is surprised by the terms of a will, they may suspect that another family member unethically influenced the deceased to make changes to the document before they passed. If an individual can convince a probate judge that the document was changed, the terms may be invalidated. In some cases, the entire will can be voided. An experienced probate attorney could also take the proper steps to ensure any changes are completed appropriately and help Rockville families avoid such disputes.
Lapse in Review
Some people set up estate planning documents earlier in life and then forget about them. This may result in wills that are missing certain assets or are otherwise outdated. These types of disputes may be subject to the anti-lapse statute or require ademption. Scheduling periodic reviews of all estate planning documents with a probate attorney can help avoid these issues.
Holographic or Non-Existent Wills
If the deceased does not have a will or drafted a holographic (handwritten) will without adhering to the proper formalities, the probate court may determine who gets what. Since it is often unclear what will happen to certain assets in these scenarios, disputes may arise among family members, creditors, and other potential beneficiaries.
Call a Rockville Probate Attorney
Hiring a Rockville probate lawyer is highly recommended if you are dealing with probate disputes or would like to begin the estate planning process. Experienced attorneys could walk you through the many probate planning options and help create a plan tailored to your situation. Call today to learn more about how an experienced attorney could assist you.