When your loved one passes away in Maryland, their estate might have to go through probate. Even if they planned ahead and wrote a will, their estate may require probate to ensure that all debts are paid off and assets are properly distributed. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say from the beginning how long probate will take.
What factors can affect the duration of probate?
The value of the estate can partially determine how long the estate will be in probate. If you’re dealing with a small estate with only a few assets, the executor of the estate might be able to get it wrapped up quickly. Conversely, if your loved one left behind a sprawling estate worth millions of dollars, probate might go on for several months.
If your loved one left a will behind, the information in the will should speed up the probate process. The executor of the estate could point to the will if any legal disputes arise. However, if your loved one didn’t leave a will behind, their estate will have to go through the court process. A judge will divide up the properties according to local inheritance laws.
A will contest could also slow down the probate process. One or more of the individual’s heirs might hire an estate attorney if they believe that they didn’t get their rightful share of the estate. Will contests could take months to resolve.
Have you been named the executor of an estate?
If you’re the executor of an estate, your tasks include paying off debts, distributing assets, filing tax returns, talking to creditors and more. An attorney may help you through the process to ensure that you’re acting in accordance with state inheritance laws.