Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
I am an Estate Law expert and will do my best to provide you with quality information. Remember, I am only permitted to give general information!
I am sorry to hear of your loss.
It sounds as if your husband had a will, since you went to the Register of Wills.
You can handle the probate process yourself, but it requires a lot of paperwork, with many deadlines. Typically, for a surviving spouse, due to the grieving process, the spouse, if they can afford to, chooses to hire an attorney. However, legally it is not required.
Since you are the sole heir, you, as spouse, are immune from inheritance tax in Maryland, so that is helpful.
If the property is jointly held, then it will pass outside of probate. If however, there is property in your husband's name alone, then you may qualify for filing a modified administration.
I am going to link you to a pamphlet regarding administration in Maryland: http://registers.maryland.gov/main/packets/Administration%20of%20Estates%20Pamphlet.pdf
Thank you for your help, I have the pamphlet st up to look at it but will it give me all the answers I need?
It will get you started. The process involves many forms, so it won't answer all of your questions, most likely. For example, depending on the size of the estate, there are different procedures to follow. You can always post additional questions here; however, if you are a senior citizen, there may be free legal assistance depending on your county. Typically these are provided through the senior center. I also located a very good website that contains all the forms you will need. One moment please.
http://registers.maryland.gov/main/forms.html. You may need assistance in determining which forms to file, depending on the circumstances of your case (i.e. value of estate; how property is held, etc).
I already have this pamphlet but I'm still confused on what exactly to do and how to do it.
For example, if you have a small estate, then you would file the Petition known as Form 1103 to get the process initiated; If it is not a small estate, you would file form 1112 to begin the process. Then, you would need to provide an inventory of all assets via Form 1122, unless they pass outside of probate because the property was held in joint tenancy.
Probate typically takes up to 6 months to complete, depending on whether creditors are involved (that tends to delay things as the creditors need to submit their claims and then the money needs to be disbursed to them).
The small estate petition would be applicable if the estate is worth less than $100,000 (that portion which is to be probated; not that portion which passes separately i.e. jointly held property; bank accounts with Pay on Death designation, life insurance listing you as beneficiary).
Ok thank you for the information and if I have anymore questions I'll ask.