A Small Estate has $50,000 or less in property or $100,000 if spouse is the sole heir; and a Large Estate has a net value of greater than $50,000 or $100,000 if the spouse is the sole heir.
The process of probating a Large Estate involves multiple steps, including
- Filing the Will, identifying interested parties, and applying for a bond for the Personal Representative (aka Executor);
- Preparing an Information Report of the Estate’s assets and their value; and
- Preparing one or more Accounts that identify any changes in the value of the assets, expenses that the Estate has incurred, and the disposition of the assets.
It is not expensive for a Personal Representative to retain an attorney. The attorney’s fees are set by statute: $1,800 for the first $20,000 of the Estate plus 3.6% of the Estate in excess of $20,000. For a $100,000 Estate, the attorney’s fees would be $4,680.
A Personal Representative should consider retaining an attorney when either (1) the Estate is substantially greater than $100,000; (2) the Personal Representative does not reside in Maryland; (3) the Estate’s real property will be sold; or (4) the Personal Representative does not have sufficient time or expertise to complete the necessary Reports, Schedules, and Accounts.
Stewart A. Sutton has been retained by numerous Personal Representatives to assist them in the probate process for Large Estates. In 2014, he represented the family of a retired Montgomery County District Court Judge.