If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, then you’ve probably heard of the probate court. What you may not know unless you’ve served as their personal representative is what exactly that court is responsible for doing. One of its primary responsibilities is to supervise the multi-faceted probate process. It sounds easier than it is. There’s a lot that goes into this. One of the court’s first responsibilities is validating a decedent’s will.
It’s the responsibility of the executor of a Maryland resident’s estate to file the decedent’s will with the probate court in the county in which they last resided. The clerk of court will generally require that the personal representative file the decedent’s death certificate at the same time.
The onus for deciding whether a will is legally valid falls on the shoulders of the probate judge. They’ll generally hold a hearing with all the testator’s listed beneficiaries before deciding this. It’s there that each of those individuals will have an opportunity to review the will. The judge will then ask each of them to either object to or accept it. The court will schedule future hearings in the matter if anyone contests it.
Judges are generally more inclined to uphold a will as valid when the testator’s signing of the document was witnessed by others. It’s only once the will has been validated that a Frederick probate judge will generally move to have the executor sign both a letter of administration and letter of authority. These documents serve as a way for executors to affirm that they will see the probate process through to its conclusion.
Executors can be held personally liable for any debts that they leave unpaid or assets that they squander while handling a Maryland probate case. Some jurisdictions require personal representatives to post a bond, or insurance policy, to protect beneficiaries from any intentional or unintentional mistakes. A probate attorney can guide you through this process so that you don’t expose yourself to any financial liability and aid you in upholding the testator’s final wishes.