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What happens when settling an estate?

It can be an emotionally challenging process to handle a loved one’s affairs after his or her passing. Settling an estate involves paying off remaining debts, gathering assets, valuing property and distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries. It is also likely at least some of the assets will go through probate. It may be helpful for a Maryland family to be familiar with probate and the estate administration process.

Steps in the process

After a death, the family will locate a will. If there is no will, the distribution of assets from the estate will happen according to state laws. After filing with the court, probate begins. This is the court-supervised process of verifying the will and settling other matters associated with the estate. After this, the following things will happen:

  • There will be an inventory of the assets and documents included in the estate of the deceased.
  • There will be a value assigned to assets of the deceased.
  • Remaining estate and income taxes associated with the estate will be paid.
  • Final bills and remaining estate expenses will be paid.
  • What is left in the estate will be distributed to heirs and beneficiaries.

The individual in charge of this process is the executor of the estate. The court may assign this responsibility, or the deceased may specify who this should be in his or her will.

Probate is complex

Probate and settling an estate is a complex process. There is benefit in working with a Maryland attorney who can help at every step. This guidance can prove invaluable in case there are complications or issues that could threaten the interests of the heirs and beneficiaries.