If you die with assets remaining in your Maryland estate, it will likely need to go through probate. The probate process is used to verify that you have a valid will and to allow creditors to make claims against your estate. An estate representative will be appointed to oversee the settling of your affairs.
The process of choosing an estate representative
Typically, you appoint someone to represent your estate in your will. In the event that you don’t have a valid will, a probate judge will typically appoint a family member to serve in this role. In some cases, your spouse, oldest child or attorney will ask to serve in such a capacity. A judge may also have to appoint an executor if your first choice is unable or unwilling to perform his or her duties.
What are the key duties of an estate executor?
An estate representative is responsible for inventorying assets, settling creditor claims and distributing assets. This person may also be responsible for reviewing will contests or other claims made against the estate by those who believe that they are entitled to a portion of your property. In most cases, the executor is required to keep careful records of any transactions made during probate, and a final report is generally submitted to the court before a probate case is considered closed.
It is important to choose an estate executor who is reliable and good at paying attention to details. As you can’t know what will happen in the future, it may also be worthwhile to appoint an alternate representative. This may help to ensure that your affairs are settled in a timely manner and in accordance with your final wishes.