The Law Office of Alperstein & Diener provides estate planning services and counsel to families and individuals throughout Maryland. Services include:
- Powers of Attorney
- Advance Healthcare Directives
- Estates & Trusts
- Fiduciary Representation
Estate Planning is a way that you can ensure that all of the hard work you did in your life carries forward after you have passed on. With proper planning, you can provide for your loved ones and minimize the turmoil associated with your death.
By planning carefully you will be able to designate an executor who you trust to ensure that your will is properly respected, can provide for the care, custody and protection of your minor children, can limit tax implications so that as much of what you can pass to your family and charitable organizations gets to them, and can limit any further hardship to your family caused by your passing.
The opportunities to protect your family and estate are too numerous to describe in general and must be narrowly tailored to your specifications. To begin the process or for more information, contact Jill Snyder.
Probate is the legal process that takes place when an individual dies while owning real or personal property in his own name. Probate generally involves filing the decedent’s will with the court, identifying and inventorying the decedent’s property, paying debts and obligations of the decedent , and distributing the decedent’s remaining assets as directed by will (or by state law if there is no will).
The probate process begins when a representative for the decedent’s estate files paperwork with the Register of Wills for the county in which the decedent was living. Once an estate is opened, the Register of Wills will place the Notice of Appointment in a local newspaper once a week for three weeks (at the expense of the estate). The personal representative is also under a duty to deliver a copy of the Notice of Appointment to all known creditors of the decedent. Creditors must file claims within the earlier of (a) six months of the date of death, or (b) two months after actual notice is mailed to the creditor. Upon the expiration of the six-month period, the personal representative must pay all legitimate claims against the estate.
Additionally, a List of Interested Persons must be filed within twenty (20) days of the appointment of the personal representative. The List includes the name, address, and relationship to the decedent of each person named as a beneficiary in the will as well as any person who would be entitled to inherit by Maryland law in the absence of a will. At the expense of the estate, the Register of Wills must send a copy of the newspaper Notice to each person on the list unless these individuals expressly waive their right to receive such notice.
An Inventory Report and an Information Report must be filed within three (3) months of the appointment of the personal representative. The Inventory Report lists the assets held in the decedent’s individual name or as tenants-in-common, and provides the value of such assets. The Information Report lists all property that the decedent owned or co-owned that is not listed on the Inventory Report and that is passing to someone who is subject to the Maryland inheritance tax.
An initial account must be filed within nine (9) months of the appointment of the personal representative. Although no specific form exists for filing an account, a personal representative is required to account for all property shown on all inventories and all financial activity of the estate. This includes an itemized list of all payments and disbursements, and receipts to verify such payments. The account will also disclose the proposed distribution to beneficiaries. The Register of Wills will then audit the account. After the audit, the account is then submitted to the Orphan’s Court for approval. After the initial account, the personal representative must file subsequent accounts at intervals on the first to occur of (a) six months after the prior account is approved by the Orphan’s Court, or (b) nine months after the prior account was filed. When the Orphan’s Court approves the final account and the assets are distributed, the estate is considered closed.
As you can see, this is a complicated procedure that must be followed, and persons not familiar with it are likely to become easily overwhelmed and make mistakes in the process. An attorney can be helpful in guiding and counseling you through this process. For more information, contact Jill Snyder.