25+ Years Of Legal Experience

What to know about small estates vs. regular estates in Maryland

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

In Maryland, estates are categorized as regular or small. Each category observes unique rules when it comes to probate. As a personal representative, you should know the processes to follow depending on the estate type you want to open.

Here is what you should know:

What is the value of the estate?

If a decedent’s property has a value of $50,000 (or less or $100,000 or less if the spouse is the sole heir), the estate is considered small.  

How do they differ during probate?

A personal representative for a regular estate must be bonded, but it’s only required for some small estates. A personal representative bond is a form of insurance that protects an estate and its beneficiaries from an executor’s irresponsibility and fraud – it ensures an executor fulfills their duties. The bond amount is usually determined by the court, depending on the value of the estate. 

An approved newspaper publication is also required on every regular estate, but only for certain small estates.

Other items are similar when opening a small or regular estate. These include a copy of the death certificate, the decedent’s last will and statement, a list of interested persons and so on.

Which estate is easier to close?

Small estate proceedings can be closed within a short period. Closing a regular estate can be complicated, but having all the needed documents at hand and obtaining more information can make your work more manageable. 

You should get legal help to make informed decisions when opening a small or regular estate.