When someone creates an estate plan, they will appoint an individual in their estate plan to administer their estate. In most cases, everything runs smoothly from here, however, there are times where beneficiaries and others contest wills. This oftentimes leads to a process known as estate litigation. Please continue reading and speak with our Maryland estate administration attorneys to learn more about estate litigation and what happens when an individual contests a will. Here are some of the questions you may have:
How do wills work?
Before you can understand how the estate litigation process works, you should first have a firm understanding of the primary function of wills. To start, when someone writes up a will, they are essentially detailing how they wish certain assets to be transferred to beneficiaries after they pass away. That being said, those who create comprehensive estate plans will appoint various parties to ensure these matters are properly handled, including executors, trustees, and more. In most cases, the executor of an estate is one who will handle the decedent’s estate after he or she passes on. Generally, the individual appointed as executor is a trustworthy person who has a close relationship with the decedent. However, there are times where the executor fails to perform his or her duties as intended, in which case certain beneficiaries may wish to contest the will.
What are some of the most common reasons for contesting wills?
There are various scenarios in which a beneficiary or another party would wish to contest a will. To start, you should understand that if a will is to be considered valid and enforceable, it will have to meet various criteria. For example, all wills in Maryland must be written and signed in front of a testator, and from there, they must be signed by the testator. In Maryland, testators are required to be at least 18 years old and mentally competent when signing the document. However, if someone’s will goes through probate and a beneficiary or other family member believes that the will is invalid in some way, either because it does not meet the aforementioned guidelines or otherwise, there is a very good chance they may contest the will and enter the estate litigation process. For example, if someone mentioned in the current or previous will believes that the will was written either under the influence of another party, tampered by fraud, altered by bribery, improperly executed according to Maryland law, or if the decedent was mentally incompetent at the time of writing/signing the will, there is a very good chance that person can successfully litigate the estate. If you have any additional questions, give our experienced Maryland estate administration attorneys a call today. We are here to help.
Contact our experienced Maryland firm
The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.