Maryland Estate & Trust Administration Attorney
Upon death an individual’s assets become part of his or her “estate” for various purposes. Whether or not these assets result in a need for additional focus or administration (and how much) is another matter.
Probate in Maryland
Probate is the process of the administration of certain accounts and assets following death (those owned solely by an individual upon death, without any beneficiary listed). The process for the administration of such “probate assets” in Maryland begins by opening an estate through the local Register of Wills. Following the opening of an estate, there are certain duties, responsibilities, and filings with the Register of Wills that the Personal Representative of the estate should be aware of and adhere to. As this process is “foreign” to many individuals, oftentimes a Personal Representative elects to have an attorney represent him or her in the administration of the estate to provide advice and guidance through the probate process and to assist with the preparation and filing of various documents with the Register of Wills, such as an Inventory and Accounting, and other related matters, such as dealing with potential creditors, beneficiaries, and final income taxes.
While assets that pass through a revocable trust (sometimes also called a living trust), do not go through probate, that doesn’t mean that no administration is required. A trustee is a “fiduciary” and has certain duties to properly complete the administration of a trust. A trustee may choose to have an attorney represent him or her in completing the administration of a trust. If the attorney is experienced in this area of law, this often results in a smoother and more efficient period of administration of the trust and can help to ensure that no important steps are missed.
Beneficiary Representation for Trusts and Estates
Lastly, a beneficiary of an estate or trust may have questions regarding the process of the administration of the estate or trust and wants to ensure that the Personal Representative or Trustee adheres to proper standards of administration. Therefore, a beneficiary may wish to have an attorney represent him or her to advise them of their rights and keep an “eye” on this process to ensure certain rights, as a beneficiary, are protected.
Joe Mathis frequently represents Personal Representatives and trustees in guiding them through the process of the administration of an estate or trust. He also represents beneficiaries of estates and trusts. Please contact us to discuss these matters further.