Baltimore & Harford County Probate & Estate Administration Lawyer
I am a Maryland probate attorney with over 30 years of experience providing compassionate legal assistance with probate and estate administration services to clients in the greater Bel Air and Baltimore area.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is painful and I understand this can be a stressful time. You may feel uncertain and overwhelmed. Call me for a shoulder to lean on and step-by-step guidance with what to do after a loved one passes.
Concerned about family members or others taking property out of the house or from bank accounts? Don’t delay. Call your probate lawyer right away to determine how best to handle the the problem. Urgent legal action may be necessary.
Paying bills is something you should hold off on until after you’ve consulted with your probate lawyer. Creditors need to file claims if they want to be paid. This process protects and may benefit you.
Usually there is no need to rush into opening an estate. I have an office near you and can take care of all your probate needs in due course. I’m just a telephone call or a click away!
Call Rob Goldman for a free initial telephone consultation and get some Peace of Mind.
Looking for initial information, please check out our Probate Frequently Asked Questions page.
HOW THE PROBATE PROCESS WORKS
The first step after someone dies, is to determine whether there is a Will. It here is a Will, the estate is known as a “testate” estate. If there is no Will, the estate will be considered an “intestate estate.” Different rules apply as to who has priority to appointment as Personal Representative and spousal rights.
Appointment of Personal Representative (Executor of the Will). If there is a Will, note who is nominated in the Will to serve as the Personal Representative. That person or those persons should initiate the process of opening the estate or hiring a lawyer to do so. If there is no Will, the applicable statute dictates the order of priority to be appointed as the Personal Representative. The Personal Representative is the person authorized by the probate court to represent the Estate. Banks and financial institutions, investment companies, life insurance companies, and most other businesses and government offices, will communicate only with the Personal Representative and will first want to see the Letters of Administration.
The Probate Process. Probate is the legal process by which the estate of someone who dies is administered through the office of the Register of Wills and the Orphan’s Court. If there is a Will, it must be handed in to the Register of Wills for the County in which the decedent resided when he or she died. That is usually done when the estate is opened. A Petition for Probate must be filed to open an estate, together with various supporting documents, such as a Death Certificate, the Will, an Information Report, and a List of Interested Persons. An Inventory needs to be filed withing three months after the Letters of Administration are issued. There are different type of estate administration procedures depending on the size of the estate and who are the beneficiaries and interested persons.
Locating missing heirs and giving them due notice is a common challenge that could cause considerable delay. After exhausting logical inquiries, one may need to hire a genealogical search firm.
How long does probate take? It take about ten months to completely probate a typical regular estate, – if there are no issues that cause a delay. A Small Estate can be completed much more quickly, sometimes in a month or two.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Probate the Estate? Although one does not have to be an attorney to probate an estate, most people find it preferable to have an experienced probate lawyer handle everything and make sure the estate is probated correctly, that the estate tax returns are filed, only those creditors who file claims are paid appropriately, and that the balance of the estate to be distributed is done so quickly and correctly, including the preparation and recording of deeds. Having a disinterest, professional person handling the probate reduces the likelihood of family friction, withholding of information, and misappropriation of estate assets. For more information on how to probate an estate, visit our Probate page and click on the link to our Probate Frequently Asked Questions page.
One can protect one’s property by keeping assets out of the probate estate. You have to do this before you are incompetent or dead! So, plan ahead for Peace of Mind. By keeping assets out of probate, those assets can be protected against the claims of creditors. Do it now before you forget. Planning is key and is part of what one considers in basic estate planning, such as making a Will and pwoers of attorney. Since estate planning is one of the most important things you can do to protect your assets, you should not cut corners. See our article: Risks to Consider in Trying to Avoid Probate. Always have a comprehensive “Rights & Options” consultation with your lawyer first to ensure that your attempt to address one concern does not inadvertently create a larger problem.
What other important issues should I consider after a family member passes away?
- planning to maintain one’s independence & avoid elder abuse
- need to update Wills, Powers-of-Attorney, Trusts;
- need to make a deed change and other real estate concerns;
- need help to probate an estate
- need to sell an estate property (estate sales)
- need to down-size
- practical and legal planning advice for seniors wishing to down-size
- understanding inheritance, gift and estate taxes
- planning for how to pay for assisted living, nursing home, Mediciad Eligbility, asset protection
- obtaining practical legal advice and guidance to do things the right way
If you’d like to learn more about probate law, please check out our Probate Frequently Asked Questions page.
Contact us now to inquire about our probate related legal services.