When you pass away, your assets enter probate before the executor of your will can distribute the assets you intended for certain beneficiaries for their inheritances. The court manages the probate process to ensure that your estate pays your final debts, taxes, and bills. Turn to a probate lawyer serving Prince Frederick for help understanding probate in Maryland.
At the Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr., P.C., we’re here to help families understand the probate process and help clients avoid probate for their families through the use of our estate planning legal services. Call our law firm today at 301-627-1000 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with a probate law attorney.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal procedure through which a decedent’s estate passes into court proceedings to settle the decedent’s final debts and pay creditors from the assets left behind, then allocate the remaining assets to beneficiaries. The probate process begins with the executor filing a petition in probate court and the court authorizing the petitioner to represent the estate. Then, the executor:
- Notifies heirs, financial institutions, and creditors
- Compiles an inventory of the decedent’s assets
- Gets a tax ID for the estate
- Reviews creditor and tax claims against the estate
- Files tax returns for federal income tax, state income tax, and estate taxes
- Distributes assets to beneficiaries or intestate heirs (if the decedent died without a will)
- Creates a final account and files it with the probate court
How To Avoid Probate
You can prevent your assets from entering probate after your death by creating either a revocable or irrevocable trust with a pour-over will. A revocable trust is amendable while you are alive and competent. You cannot alter an irrevocable trust after you create and transfer property into it, so an irrevocable trusts protects assets during your lifetime.
After your death, your revocable trust will become irrevocable, meaning that creditors can’t pursue those assets. A pour-over will ensures, upon your death, the transfer of any assets you forgot to move into your trust. These measures avoids probate.
Probate Litigation To Contest a Will or File for Breach of Fiduciary Duty
If you recently lost a loved one and didn’t receive your expected inheritance, lost most of your inheritance to final expenses and debts of your loved one, or believe the executor failed to perform their duties correctly, you may be able to pursue probate litigation. Some cases our office has represented include:
- Contesting wills
- Undue influence by a third party
- Lack of competence at the time of altering a will or trust
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Issues with federal or state taxes
Contact Our Estate and Trust Law Firm for Help with Probate in Prince Frederick, MD
At The Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr., P.C., we have proudly offered legal advice and services in family law, estate planning, criminal defense, and probate for over 40 years. Call us today at 301-627-1000 or contact us online to speak with a probate lawyer serving Prince Frederick, MD.