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How Long Does Probate Take in Maryland

How Long Does Probate Take in Maryland?

Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. It involves validating the deceased person’s will, identifying and inventorying their assets, paying off any debts or taxes owed, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. The duration of the probate process can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate and any disputes that may arise. In Maryland, the probate process typically takes around six to nine months, but it can take longer in certain situations.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Probate in Maryland

Several factors can impact the length of the probate process in Maryland. These factors include:

1. Complexity of the Estate: The complexity of the deceased person’s estate can significantly affect the duration of probate. If the estate is straightforward, with a few assets and no disputes, the probate process is likely to be relatively quick. However, if the estate is complex, with multiple assets, debts, and potential conflicts, it can take longer to settle.

2. Notification Period: In Maryland, before the probate process can begin, the personal representative (executor) must notify all interested parties of their appointment. This typically involves publishing a notice in a local newspaper and sending a notice to all known creditors and beneficiaries. The notification period usually lasts three months, which can contribute to the overall duration of probate.

3. Estate Taxes: If the deceased person’s estate is subject to estate taxes, it can significantly prolong the probate process. The personal representative must file the necessary tax returns, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the right to audit those returns, which can cause delays.

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4. Disputes and Litigation: Any disputes or litigation that arise during the probate process can significantly prolong its duration. If beneficiaries or creditors contest the will or have disagreements about the distribution of assets, it may be necessary to resolve these issues through the court system, further dragging out the probate process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Probate in Maryland

Q: What assets are subject to probate in Maryland?
A: Assets that are solely owned by the deceased person and do not have a designated beneficiary or joint owner are typically subject to probate in Maryland. This may include real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, and personal property.

Q: Can probate be avoided in Maryland?
A: Yes, there are several strategies that can help avoid probate in Maryland, such as establishing a revocable living trust, designating beneficiaries on accounts, setting up joint ownership, or gifting assets during one’s lifetime.

Q: Can the personal representative be held personally liable for mistakes made during the probate process?
A: The personal representative has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. If they make mistakes or act negligently, they can be held personally liable for any resulting financial losses.

Q: Can the probate process be expedited in Maryland?
A: In certain situations, it may be possible to expedite the probate process in Maryland. For example, if the estate qualifies for a small estate administration or if all interested parties agree to a faster distribution of assets, the probate process can be accelerated.

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Q: Do all estates in Maryland have to go through probate?
A: No, not all estates in Maryland have to go through probate. If the deceased person’s estate meets certain criteria, such as having a total value below a certain threshold or consisting mainly of non-probate assets, it may be eligible for simplified probate procedures or even exempt from probate altogether.


The duration of the probate process in Maryland can vary depending on the complexity of the estate, any disputes that arise, and the presence of estate taxes. While the process typically takes around six to nine months, it can take longer in certain situations. To navigate the probate process smoothly and efficiently, it’s advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced probate attorney.

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