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Overview of the Maryland Court System

The judicial structure in Maryland consists of two lower non-trial courts: one original jurisdiction trial court and two courts of appeal.

The non-trial courts are the orphan's courts, which exclusively handle probate and estate law matters, and the district courts, which deal with minor civil cases, traffic infractions, small claims, orders of protection and preliminary hearings for criminal cases.

The trial courts all fall under the auspices of the circuit courts, which also handle family and domestic relations issues. Jury trials in the circuit courts are held for all criminal matters, juvenile issues and larger civil cases. The circuit courts also hear appeals from the district courts.

The two appeals courts are the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals. The Court of Special Appeals handles general appellate issues from the circuit courts as well as appeals from the orphan's courts. Certain cases such as death penalty cases are appealed directly to the Court of Appeals, which serves as the court of last resort in Maryland. It handles many of the responsibilities that the highest court in other states would handle, such as court administration and bar admissions. Decisions made by the Court of Special Appeals may be appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Maryland Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Maryland attorney by location and by practice area. We have Maryland attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

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Maryland Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Maryland legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

For homeowners looking to get some extra money every month, renting is often a viable option. The only downside to renting is that it essentially involves trusting a tenant with your expensive real estate assets. A Maryland Residential Lease Agreement, free on LawInfo, can mitigate a lot of the risk by helping you set a contractual, legally binding agreement with your tenant so you don't have to be held liable for his or her actions. This way, you can put your mind at ease and avoid inconvenient landlord/tenant disagreements.

A Last Will and Testament gives you the opportunity to control the disbursement of your belongings following your death. If you believe a particular heirloom should go to a particular family member or if you want to pass an inheritance on to a favored cousin or nephew, you should file a Last Will and Testament, available free from LawInfo. People who die without wills are deemed "intestate," meaning that a court decides who gets what according to the state's succession laws.

You can prepare for the future by filing Power of Attorney documents, which are available for free on LawInfo. A Power of Attorney enables you to select someone to be responsible for major legal, financial and medical decisions on your behalf. This power may be used if you are unconscious for an extended period of time or otherwise medically incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own.

Starting a Maryland Business

A Maryland business is an exciting new prospect, and it will do you well to be prepared for the challenges you will face as an entrepreneur and business owner. You can visit the Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center to get started with writing up a business plan, identifying your target market, planning your seed capital and budgeting for success. In business as in life, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of reaction. If you begin properly, you will reap the rewards for months and years to come.

Choosing the proper business structure for your needs will come after settling on a business plan. Each business structure is different, and most of the differences reside in the tax, documentation and liability requirements. If you begin a sole proprietorship, for instance, you will pay fewer taxes and require less documentation, but you will be personally liable for all the losses that your business incurs. A corporation is easier to expand and has more business owner protections, but it also demands higher fees and taxes.

Maryland Business Statistics

Small businesses employ 51.6 percent of the Maryland private-sector work force. The unemployment rate was just under 7 percent through 2013, which was on par with the national average. Maryland is home to nearly 530,000 small businesses, accounting for 51.6 percent of employers. Real GDP growth in 2011 kept pace with the rest of the U.S. at about 2.6 percent. Large companies drove business health in the state as well: There were 2,666 large employers in Maryland in 2011, including major Fortune 500 companies Lockheed Martin (LMT), Coventry Health Care (CVH) and Marriott International (MAR).