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Not every Maryland estate has to be probated

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2019 | Estate Planning

Many Maryland residents draft a will so that they can decide who inherits their assets instead of a judge doing that for them. Even still, a testator’s estate must be probated. It’s during this process that a probate can decide to handle things differently. There are ways that you can avoid the probate altogether though.

One of the best steps that you can take if you have a life or other type of valuable insurance policy in place is to name a specific loved one as the beneficiary of its proceeds instead of your estate. This will allow any money to go directly to your designee, bypassing the probate process when you die.

You should also consider drafting new deeds for all real estate that you own. These deeds should include both your’s and your loved one’s name. Tenants by the entirety or a joint tenancy deed should help you leave your home to your loved one without it having to pass through the probate process. If you choose to draft a tenants by the entirety deed, then you’ll want to make sure that it entitles you to survivorship rights though.

It may be ideal for you to place all your assets that you want to pass on to others into a trust. You can appoint yourself as the trustee that is allowed to add and sell off assets so long as you’re alive. You’ll need to appoint someone to take over this role once you’re gone. They’ll be able to distribute assets as per your requests long after your death. Having a trust in place means that any assets contained with it won’t have to pass through the probate process.

You may also find it beneficial to speak with your financial advisor or to visit your bank to set up “transfer on death” preferences for your accounts. These requests must be filed with each financial institution that you do business with if you wish for these accounts to transfer to someone else without having to be probated.

The probate process can be long and drawn out, especially if someone raises concerns about the testamentary capacity of the testator or the will is otherwise challenged. An attorney in Frederick can provide you with careful consideration and forward thinking necessary to lawfully avoid the Maryland probate process.