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3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs in Maryland

How to Avoid Probate Costs in Maryland

The bad news: not only does probate take forever, probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, and courts. Depending on the complexity, probate costs in Maryland can run into tens of thousands of dollars. In Maryland, attorneys’ fees and executors’ fees are regulated by state statute; the final fee must be approved by the Orphans’ Court, if the fees are being paid from the estate’s assets. The current statutory fee schedule is 9 percent on the first $20,000 of the estate’s assets and 3.6 percent on the remainder of the estate’s assets.


The good news: probate costs in Maryland can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple.


Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs in Maryland by avoiding probate:


  1. Name a Beneficiary.

    The probate process determines who gets what when there is no beneficiary designation. So, naming a beneficiary is the easiest way to avoid probate. Common beneficiary designation assets include:

    • Life insurance
    • Annuities
    • Retirement plans


  1. Create and Fund a Revocable Living Trust.

    A revocable living trust owns your property, yet you remain in charge of all legal decisions until your death. After your death, your named trustee manages your assets – according to your A trust works well if properly created and funded by an experienced estate planning attorney.


  1. Own Property Jointly.

    Probate can be avoided if the property you own is held jointly with a right of survivorship. There are several ways that you can establish joint ownership of property such as:

    • Joint tenancy with right of survivorship – ownership simply transfers to other tenants upon your death;
    • Tenancy by its entirety – is a form of joint tenancy with right of survivorship, but only for married couples;
    • Community property – property obtained during a marriage in some states;


State laws play an important role here. At McDonald Law Firm, we can help you determine which form of joint ownership, if any, is a good fit for you.


We Have the Tools to Help You


Contact McDonald Law Firm today at (443) 741-1088 to schedule a free no obligation consultation with Andre O. McDonald, a knowledgeable Howard County probate attorney, where we’ll help you decide whether it makes sense to avoid probate in your particular case and, if so, the best way to do so.



Request a Consultation

For help with estate planning, special needs planning or elder law throughout Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore County; and Baltimore City, contact McDonald Law Firm, LLC.

McDonald Law Firm, LLC

Columbia Office

10500 Little Patuxent Pkwy, #420
Columbia, MD 21044-3563

Bethesda Office:

(By Appointment Only)

7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 800 West
Bethesda, MD 20814

Washington, DC Office:

2101 L Street, N.W., Suite 300
Washington, DC 20037

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