Opening an Estate in Rockville Probate

Handling an estate after someone’s death could be a daunting proposition. Probate requirements can be complex, and a mistake could cause delays and even subject you to personal liability.

Although opening an estate is one of the first steps in the probate process, there are requirements to be completed beforehand. A trusts and estates lawyer could help with the process of opening an estate, administering the assets, or resolving problems that arise in Rockville probate cases.

Gathering the Appropriate Information and Documentation

Before opening an estate in Rockville probate, the personal representative or person assuming responsibility for probate must collect certain information and documents. The information necessary for opening an estate includes:

  • A will, if one exists
  • The death certificate
  • An inventory of probate property
  • Funeral bills and other final expenses
  • Titles to motor vehicles
  • Names and contact information for interested persons, such as heirs and individuals named in the will
  • Applicable estate forms

Although it might be necessary to provide a full account of assets later on, all that is needed initially is an approximate value to determine whether the estate may be administered as a “small estate.”

Individuals with Many Assets Could Go Through a  “Small” Estates Probate Process

The size of an estate is not always related to the value of the property owned by the deceased person. Many assets may not be considered a part of an estate for probate purposes. Property with a beneficiary designation may pass directly to beneficiaries and not go through probate. Similarly in some circumstances, jointly owned property may go to the other owner after a death and not be considered probate property.

Before opening an estate in Rockville probate, it is necessary to determine which assets will be part of probate and to calculate the value of those assets. If the value is over $50,000, the estate will go through the standard probate process. If the value is less, the estate can be managed through the less complicated, small estate probate process. When a spouse is the only heir, the value limit for going through a large probate process increases to $100,000.

The Process of Opening an Estate

Even when the deceased’s will names a personal representative, that person must still petition the court for authority to open and administer the estate. The specific situation determines the type of pleadings that need to be filed with the court as part of opening an estate. The personal representative should also file the original with the Register of Wills at the same time as petitioning for authority.

Once the court has approved the will and personal representative, the representative should take action such as obtaining a tax ID number and opening a bank account for the estate. A Rockville lawyer could assist the personal representative with the court requirements as well as the many other tasks involved in opening and managing an estate through the probate process.

Learn More About Opening an Estate in Rockville Probate with an Experienced Attorney

The forms and requirements necessary for opening an estate could differ depending on many factors. An individual tasked with opening an estate could make an appointment to speak to a probate deputy in the county where the deceased person resided to learn more about these requirements.

Alternatively, many people elect to work with a Rockville lawyer when opening an estate in probate. Assistance from an experienced attorney can make the process more efficient and prevent a representative from making a mistake that could cause an estate to lose value or subject them to personal liability. Reach out to a lawyer to discuss moving forward with opening an estate today.