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Confusion over probate may affect misinformed Maryland residents

Understanding the necessary actions that surviving family or appointed executors must carry out for a deceased loved one's estate can be complicated. Confusion can also come about if the decedent did not fully understand what his or her plans actually needed in order to be carried out. For instance, some Maryland residents may not realize that probate is necessary in order for a family to act on a will.

Though the will may have been specifically detailed with various instructions, those instructions could have no standing if the will does not go through the probate process. The court must validate the will in order for an executor to have the authority to perform the duties needed to close the estate. This aspect of the process may come as a surprise to individuals who may have been misinformed.

The instructions and information left in a will can help streamline the probate process, especially when it comes to distributing property to the appropriate beneficiaries. However, it does not eliminate the need for court involvement. If parties hope to avoid probate altogether, they may wish to consider other planning tools, like trusts. 

Though probate may seem like a burden that surviving family will have to deal with, the process is not necessarily a negative one. Maryland residents can ensure that their loved ones' last wishes are what they intended, and appointed representatives can carry out duties as instructed. Speaking with experienced attorneys can help interested parties find out more information on probate and how their wills may be addressed during the process.

Source:, "A will must be probated", Randy Clinkscales, May 9, 2017

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