Managing an estate can be a real challenge even if the estate is small. Estate administrators have a lot of paperwork and procedures to understand for Maryland estate law. The goal is to make sure that the estate pays off its debts and taxes, and then the right assets must get distributed to the right heirs according to the wishes of the deceased.
Managing small estates
A small estate starts out by getting the will validated and appointing the executor, or representative, with a set of documents called Letters of Administration. The representative has to notify the Register of Wills if the deceased had any debt when they died, and if so, the Register publishes a notice. Within three months, the representative has to file paperwork establishing all the property that the will and estate intends to pass down to family and non-family heirs.
After that, the representative has to pay off debts out of the estate, distribute the spouse their share if the deceased was married, pay fees to the Register of Wills and then finally distribute all remaining property according to the instructions in the will. There may be disputes or other issues that arise in the administration of the estate, which can make it take longer and require more work in court.
The importance of getting each step right
Managing a small estate takes time and attention as well as knowledge of when the various sets of paperwork must be filed to stay on track. Small estates tend to be less complex, especially if there is no debt involved, but the right forms and steps must all be completed at the right times for the estate administration to go smoothly.