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How to open an estate in Maryland

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate, Estate Planning |

If you are an executor of a will in Maryland, you must open an estate and request the probate court to name you as the administrator before you can perform any of your fiduciary duties. Here’s how you can go about it.

The type of estate to open in Maryland

You can open two types of estates in Maryland:

• A small estate

• Regular estate

A small estate is one that’s worth less than $50,000 or $100,000 if the spouse is the sole heir. A regular estate is an estate valued higher than $50,000 (or $100,000 if the spouse is the sole heir).

The process of opening an estate in Maryland

When opening an estate, the first thing you must do is gather the required documents and information. For both small and regular estates, you will need the death certificate of the deceased, a list of the assets and debts of the deceased, and the name and addresses of the heirs.

Additional documents you will need when opening a small estate are proof that you are the official administrator and the affidavit of the small estate. For regular estate, you will also need a copy of the will (if there’s one).

Next, file these documents with the Register of Wills of your county. The Register of Wills will then issue a “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration,” which will allow you to begin the process of settling the estate.

Settling an estate in Maryland

Before distributing assets to the designated beneficiaries, you must file the last death taxes and pay all the decedent debts and other expenses. A small estate may not require probate; you can directly distribute the assets with the affidavit of small estate administration. The regular estate will go through a probate process, where the court will oversee the distribution of assets.

Opening an estate is easy if you know what to do. If the estate you are administering is unique and you don’t know the documents to bring, you can speak to a probate deputy in your county or an attorney prior to the application process.