How Probate Laws Work in Maryland

When a loved one dies, it can be a difficult time. While you are grieving, decisions must still be made. One of the most important decisions is how to handle the estate of the decedent. This is often an emotional challenge in addition to being financial.

Probate is a legal process that stipulates how the estate is to be dispersed. The court monitors the tasks that are required to distribute the estate to the heirs.

Is Probate Required in Maryland?

Probate is necessary in Maryland for most estates. The state law requires that estates go through probate to ensure the stipulations of the will are honored. If there is no will, state law sets the guidelines for how the estate is to be handled.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Maryland?

It is possible to keep an estate out of probate in Maryland if you plan ahead. The best way is to put an estate in a revocable living trust, which would go to the beneficiary when the person dies. Assets that have a named beneficiary don’t need to go through probate. Some examples include life insurance policies, checking accounts, and retirement accounts. You can also transfer vehicles to a beneficiary, which is called transfer on death.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Maryland be Compensated?

Yes, an executor or personal representative of an estate is allowed to be compensated for their work according to Maryland statutes. They may also receive reimbursement for any expenses they had from doing the job.

How Much Does an Executor in Maryland Get Paid?

According to Maryland statutes, the personal representative receives nine percent of the value of the estate as long as the estate has a value of $20,000 or under. If the estate is worth more than $20,000, the fee is $1800 plus another 3.6 percent of the value over $20,000. The court is allowed to set a lower fee, and the executor is allowed to appeal the fee to the circuit court.

How Long Does Probate in Maryland Take?

Probate in Maryland can take a year or longer. Creditors have six months from the date of death to submit a claim. Once the assets have been distributed, probate must remain open for at least six months to allow for a creditor to come forward. However, it can be much longer if the will is contested or other delays arise. The minimum amount of time is seven to nine months to allow for creditors even with a smaller estate.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Maryland?

While most estates are required to go through probate in Maryland, there are some exceptions. If it is considered a small estate, it may be possible to use a shorter version of probate. A small estate is considered to be one with value of less than $30,000 or under $50,000 if the sole heir is the spouse. A small estate may use modified administration with the consent of all heirs.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Maryland?

A will must be filed with the court in Maryland. It is the job of the court to determine its validity before probate can commence. This is the first step and ensures that the instructions of the will are honored.

Settling an Estate in Maryland

Settling a Maryland estate is much the same as in any other state. The basic steps are the same, but the timelines and details may differ. If you are involved in an estate, you should be aware of the steps.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After a Death in Maryland?

The state law in Maryland doesn’t give a time limit for filing a will after someone dies, but it does say it must be filed promptly. However, probate doesn’t have to be opened at the same time. If someone fails to file the will, they can be sued.

Probate Court in Maryland

Probate in Maryland is handled by the Maryland Orphan’s Court. There is an Orphan’s Court in Baltimore and in each of the counties, except Harford and Montgomery counties, which have Circuit Court judges.

Probate Code in Maryland

Maryland has its own probate code, which is included in the state statutes. You can find these statutes on the Maryland government website: Laws – Statutes ( The codes govern everything from how a will is created to transferring property.