If you have a family or friends, you should have a Will. The law of intestate succession, which governs the disposition of your property if you die without a Will, is somewhat outdated, and sometimes bizarre. A Will specifies critical matters, including who will receive the benefits of your estate and who will be the preferred guardian of your minor children. When Tom Rand does a Will, included in the service is the preparation of medical and financial powers of attorney. It is very important to have these documents in place to protect your medical treatment, your finances, and your family if you become disabled.
In Maryland, Wills, cases involving disputes over Last Will and Testaments, and estate administration (i.e., probate) are usually handled by the different counties' Register of Wills, and the Orphan's Courts. The Register of Wills, as the name implies, can hold a Last Will and Testament for safekeeping; an advantage of that service is that since probate must occur in the County where one resided before dying, it is impossible to miss a Will if it has been deposited with the Register of Wills in the County where the decedent lived. Otherwise, whether the Will (and the correct Will, e.g., the most recently properly signed and witnessed Will) will be found or not, may depend on luck and friends or family knowing where to look.
The Orphans' Court handles many legal controversies involving disputes about Wills and estate administration.
Estate administration is known as probate, and is largely an issue of paperwork and accounting. While most people who could balance a checkbook could probably figure out how to administer an estate, it is often easier and wiser to let an experienced lawyer guide one through the process.