Samuel’s Experience Selling Probate Property in Silver Springs, MD

by | Sep 8, 2021 | Blog

Probate laws, in general, can be confusing and, if the process is not followed correctly, can complicate the closing of an estate. Mistakes and missteps can extend the time necessary to close the estate and even create additional financial issues. Samuel quickly discovered this when probating his mother’s estate, which is one of the reasons he came to Akin Developers for assistance navigating the process of selling his mother’s home.

Samuel

Samuel is one of four siblings and was named in his mother’s will as Personal Representative. The Will also specified that her home be sold and the profits divided equally among Samuel and his siblings. However, an inspection of the house revealed some expensive repairs that were needed for it to sell at a profit on the open market. Neither Samuel nor his siblings wanted to spend the time and money necessary to complete the repairs, they wanted to get the house sold as quickly as possible so they would not have to continue paying property taxes and the other financial obligations of owning the home. We pay cash for homes in just about any condition so, Samuel contacted us about buying his mother’s property.

The probate process in Maryland is very specific, both in the tasks required and in the timeframe for completing those tasks. Samuel’s mother made sure the first step of the process was completed when she filed her Will with the Office of the Register of Wills more than a decade ago. She had asked Samuel if he would agree to be her Personal Representative and execute the Will upon her death. He had agreed, and she had given him a copy of the Will. Samuel told us, when he contacted us, that he had not thought about what his responsibilities would be and had not researched the process, mostly because he had not wanted to think about her death. Now the time was here for him to act upon her wishes and he was overwhelmed and uncertain about the process. Because of our extensive network of professionals, we were able to connect him with a probate attorney who could help him successfully understand the process and meet all requirements and deadlines.

Maryland Probate Process

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Filling the Will

The process for probate in Maryland beings with the filing of the Will with the Office of the Register of Wills. Samuel’s mother took care of this step long before her death. So the first step Samuel needed to take was filing a Petition to Probate the Estate.

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Petition to Probate the Estate

Once the Petition to Probate the Estate is filed, the clock starts on time limits for various other steps in the process. As part of the Petition to Probate an Estate, the Court will either approve the person named in the Will as the Personal Representative or appoint one if no one is named. In Samuel’s case, since Samuel was named in the Will, and since his siblings were also in agreement with him being named as Personal Representative, he was quickly approved and was given Letters of Administration authorizing him to act on behalf of the estate. Another part of that Petition is determining if the estate is a small estate (valued at no more than $50,000) or a Regular Estate (more than $50,000). Samuel’s mother’s estate was classified as a Regular Estate.
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List of Interested Persons

Within 20 days after the Personal Representative is appointed (for a regular estate), they are required to file a “List of Interested Persons.” This is a list of anyone who stands to inherit from the estate. In Samuel’s case, this included him, his siblings, his mother’s church and, her favorite charity.
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Inventory and Information Report

The Personal Representative is also required to file this report within three months of being appointed. The Inventory is a listing of all assets belonging solely to the decedent at the time of their death, and the value of each asset at that time. The Information Report also has to be filed within that three-month window and lists anything that the decedent owned with someone else, or that was left to a specific person in the Will. Samuel’s mother had already prepared these lists before her death, so Samuel only had to verify that the information was still accurate, and was able to file it quickly with the Register of Wills.
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First Account

With a regular estate like Samuel’s mother’s estate, the First Account must be filed within nine months after a Personal Representative is appointed. Samuel’s mother had prepared for this as well by preparing a list of all assets she owned.

However, the First Account is not allowed to be filed any sooner than six months after the appointment of the Representative. This document states the value of the estate and reports all financial activity, such as bills that were paid from the estate after the decedent’s death – like mortgage payments, utility payments, funeral expenses, etc. It would also list any income added to the value of the estate, like insurance payments, etc. This account must be approved by the court.

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Claims Against the Estate

Any creditors or other persons who believe they have a claim for payment from the estate can file a claim within six months after the date of death or two months after the Personal Representative mails or otherwise delivers to them a copy of the Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors, Notice to Unknown Heirs form. This form is also published in the newspaper for three weeks. If claims are not received within the allotted time, they are no longer viable claims against the estate. Samuel filed this form quickly and was able to proceed more quickly with the closing of the estate.
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Subsequent Accounts

These are accounts that are filed with the court if anything changes with the financial standing of the estate after the First Account was approved.
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Final Account

Once all debts have been paid by the estate, including attorney fees, etc., a Final Account is filed. This Account lists the final assets, their value, and the total value of the estate that is to be distributed. There isn’t a specific time limit for filing this since some estates may take longer than others. But, once the Final Account is approved, the assets of the estate may be distributed.

Samuel After Probate

Once the probate process closed, the home and property were able to be sold. When Samuel came to us early on, we were able to inspect the property and make an offer to purchase it. We knew, at the time, that it would not be sold until the probate process was completed, but it at least gave Samuel a price range to expect.

Had it been necessary to sell the property during the probate process to prevent foreclosure, there is a process to allow that. However, Samuel’s mother had enough in savings at the time of her death that the sale of the house was not necessary. After re-inspecting the property to verify that the condition had not changed, we formally made a fair offer to Samuel. The offer was below market value, but it was still more than it would have been if they needed to pay for the repairs before selling it. Samuel accepted the offer and, he and his siblings were happy with their shares. We at Akin Developers made the repairs to the house and sold the property for a profit. Everyone benefitted.

Conclusion

When making your way through the probate process in Maryland it is a good idea to work with professionals. Akin Developers has a vast network of professionals in place to help you navigate the process.

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