Once an estate enters probate in Maryland, the process can take several months or even years in certain cases. In some cases, the most well-thought-out estate plans get tied up in probate, which leaves your heirs waiting for an extended period of time for the assets that you wanted to leave them upon your death. Some of the reasons that probate takes so long can be avoided, and understanding these causes is vital when creating your estate plan.
Too many beneficiaries
The contents of your estate plan are ultimately your decision, including how many beneficiaries you want to include. However, it is important to realize that the inclusion of more than two or three beneficiaries opens up your estate for the potential of a lengthy probate process. Beneficiaries are responsible for signing and returning many documents, so including too many people can lead to significant delays.
Assets in multiple states
Every state has its own set of probate laws that dictate how long the process takes. If you own assets in multiple states, those assets will need to pass through the probate process in that state before your beneficiaries receive them. You can consult with an attorney who can help you expedite this process as much as possible.
Choosing the wrong executor
The person who you designate as the executor of your will has a direct impact on how smoothly the process goes. The executor that you choose should be someone who is fiscally responsible and organized as he or she will be responsible for handling the mass amounts of paperwork involved in an estate plan. Choosing the right person to serve as your executor is vital.
In addition to choosing the right executor, you want to take special care in choosing an attorney who can guide you through the estate planning process. Not only can this attorney review your assets, but they can also help you build an estate plan that won’t face unneeded delays in probate.