After a death, heirs and beneficiaries are left with the task of resolving any remaining issues associated with the estate. This includes paying remaining debts, distributing assets according to the terms of the will and more. Settling a Maryland estate can be a complex process, especially if there is no will. It can be helpful to understand what testate and intestate mean and how these terms will affect friends, family and others left behind after a loss.
A legitimate last will and testament
Testate succession means an individual died having a legitimate last will and testament. This means the will is in writing, and the individual drafted the will while legally and mentally competent. An executor will oversee probate and every step of the process of settling the estate, which includes paying taxes, closing accounts, locating heirs and distributing estate assets. Having a will and other estate planning documents reduces complications for all interested parties.
Dying without a will
It can be more complex to settle an estate when there is no will or an unenforceable will. State laws will dictate the process of closing the estate, and a probate court will oversee the entire process. Heirs to the estate will receive their portion after the payment of legal fees, debts, taxes and remaining liabilities.
Creating a strong estate plan
It is always preferable to have an estate plan in place regardless of age or income. Any Maryland adult who wishes to create a plan for the future may find it beneficial to begin by drafting a will. It is also helpful to work with an experienced attorney at every step of the process.