The Probate Process in Maryland, Part 7: Opening a Small Estate Proceeding at the Register of Wills
Welcome back! This is part 7 of our series on the probate process in Maryland, brought to you by the Gormley Law Office. We are a full service probate law firm located near Bethesda, Maryland. We help clients statewide with probate matters, and we can help you, too! Call us today for a free consultation at 1.240.514.2358.
And if you missed any of our previous posts, please see our index to the entire series to catch up, or to skip ahead to another topic.
This is where the probate process can be tricky, because in order to open an estate, you have to file paperwork. There are several documents needed to open an estate at the Register of Wills. The Personal Representative is the person who should file the paperwork to open the estate.
For starters, the original Will and any codicils (documents evidencing changes to the will) must be filed with the Register of Wills.
To open the small estate, the Petition for Administration (Form 1103) and Schedule B (Form 1137) are filed. The Petition asks for the following information:
- The domicile of the decedent;
- The reason the petitioner has a right to be appointed the personal representative;
- Whether the decedent died with or without a will;
- The eligibility of the petitioner to serve as personal representative;
- A list of the decedent’s probate property (both real and personal);
- Any lien secured by the property, such as mortgage on home or lien on vehicle; and
- A list of known creditors.
The Register of Wills will likely also require supporting documentation that shows the value of the asset as of the date of death. Also, if there is a mortgage or lien on the property, a mortgage statement or other document showing the amount owed at the time of death may also be required.
Next, a Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors, Notice to Unknown Heirs (Form 1109) is required with the petition when the assets are valued more than the combined allowable funeral expenses, any family allowances, and the costs to the Register of Wills.
Next, a List of Interested Persons (Form 1104) must be filed before the Personal Representative is formally appointed by the court. This list includes all persons named in the will to inherit from the estate (legatees) and all heirs at law, even if they are not named in the will. The list also includes the Personal Representative/petitioner. If there are distributions made to a trust, the trustee/trustees are interested persons and should be included on this list.
The Appointment of Resident Agent (Form 1106) is required if the person petitioning is not a Maryland resident.
Next, the Consent to Appointment of Personal Representative (Form 1118) is required by all interested persons who have greater priority under the law to serve as personal representative than the person petitioning.
Remember, if you need help with opening a small estate proceeding anywhere in Maryland, the Gormley Law Office can help! Call us today or send us a message using the Contact Us feature at the bottom of this page.