When Are Probate Proceedings Necessary?

        This is the first in a series of articles about probate administration

        Subject to some exceptions, if an individual owns “probate property”, at the time of his or her death, then under Maryland law, an estate must be opened to probate the decedent’s Will, if one exists.  If the decedent had not executed a Will, then his or her estate will be administered in accordance with Maryland’s intestacy laws.

         In order to determine with a decedent’s estate must be probated before the Register Of Wills in the County where the decedent resided at the time of their death, a review of the property that the decedent owned at the time of their death must be conducted to first determine what property of the decedent’s constitutes probate property.

        Probate property, is real or personal property which is titled solely in the name of a decedent, and does not appoint any individual orindividuals to take the property in the event of the decedent’s death. For example, a home which by Deed is titled solely in the name of the decedent, and does not state who is to get title to the property upon the decedent’s death, would constitute probate property. Another example of probate property would be a bank account which is titled solely in the name of the decedent, and no one is appointed to receive that bank account upon the death of the decedent, by a “payable upon death” or “transfer upon death” designation.

        If a decedent did not own any probate assets at the time of his or her death, then an estate does not need to be opened. However, even if a probate estate does not need to be opened, Maryland law requires that the individual who has custody of a Will is required to file that Will with the Register Of Wills in the county where the decedent resided at the time of their death.

October 5, 2014