Closing an estate in Maryland can be a complicated process. There are many legal and financial issues that need to be addressed. Accordingly, it’s important to work with an experienced Maryland probate attorney who can guide you through the process. This guide will provide an overview of the steps involved in closing an estate in Maryland and the role that a probate attorney can play in ensuring a successful outcome.
According to the Maryland Register of Wills, in 2019, there were 22,102 estates opened in Maryland. Of those estates, 16,738 were closed during the same year, leaving 5,364 estates still open at the end of the year. The largest number of estates opened were in Montgomery County, with 3,965, followed by Baltimore County with 3,030 and Prince George’s County with 2,721.
Recent data illustrates that the probate process in Maryland takes an average of 12-18 months to complete. During this time, the personal representative of the estate must inventory and appraise assets, pay outstanding debts and taxes, and distribute assets to beneficiaries.
A report from the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils indicates that the cost of probate in Maryland can range from 3% to 7% of the total value of the estate.
The length of the probate process can be affected by a variety of factors, including the size and complexity of the estate, the number of beneficiaries involved, and any disputes that may arise during the process.
Closing An Estate
The following are the general steps towards closing a Maryland estate with the help of a probate lawyer.
Inventory and Appraisal
The first step in closing an estate in Maryland is to inventory and appraise the decedent’s assets. This includes both real and personal property. The personal representative of the estate is responsible for working with an appraiser to determine the value of each asset. Once the appraisal is complete, the personal representative must file a report with the court.
Paying Debts and Taxes
The next step is to pay any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the estate. This includes funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and any estate taxes owed to the state of Maryland or the federal government. The personal representative is responsible for ensuring that all debts and taxes are paid before distributing assets to beneficiaries.
Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the personal representative can begin distributing assets to beneficiaries. This process can be complicated, especially if there are multiple beneficiaries or if the decedent’s wishes were not clearly stated in a will. It’s important to work with an experienced probate attorney who can help you navigate this process and ensure that assets are distributed fairly and in accordance with Maryland law.
Final Accounting and Closing the Estate
The final step in closing an estate in Maryland is to file a final accounting with the court. This document provides a detailed report of all assets, debts, and expenses associated with the estate. Once the court approves the final accounting, the personal representative can distribute any remaining assets and close the estate.
Work with Blackford & Flohr for the Best Maryland Wills & Estates Attorney Services
Closing an estate in Maryland can be a complex process. That’s why it’s important to have experienced, affordable Maryland probate lawyers on your side. At Blackford & Flohr, we have the experience and expertise necessary to help you navigate the probate process with ease. Contact Blackford & Flohr today for expert assistance in closing a Maryland estate. Call 410-647-6677.