How to Contest a Will in Maryland
It is a stressful and discouraging experience when you realize you may have been unfairly left out of a will or did not receive your fair share. Many Maryland residents who find themselves in this complex situation do not realize that they may have a viable reason to file a legal claim against the decedent’s estate. It’s important to know your rights if you believe you were unfairly left out of a will and wish to contest the specifications of the will.
Eligible Individuals to Contest a Will
According to Maryland law, only certain individuals are qualified to challenge a will. Below are two aspects that qualify you as an interested person with the right to contest a will.
The decedent has named you in their will as a beneficiary.
If the deceased person in question had not left a will, you would have inherited their estate by law.
If you meet these requirements, you are “interested in the estate” in the eyes of Maryland law and have a legal right to contest a will.
Common Reasons to Contest a Will
If you wish to contest a will, you need to have a viable and legitimate reason to challenge it. Many individuals who are left out of a will, or feel their share of the estate was not fair or representative of what they should receive, don’t actually have legal grounds to contest the will. Besides feeling like you were wronged or unfairly left out of the will, you do need to be able to prove that certain legal conditions were not met and therefore the will should be invalidated.
Below are the most common and legitimate reasons for contesting a will in the state of Maryland:
If you believe the deceased in question was in any way wrongly manipulated or forced to write their will in a certain manner, you may be eligible to file a legal claim.
Mental Incapacitation or Impairment
If the deceased was not of sound mind at the time they were completing their will, there may be grounds to file a claim. This is because they may not have completed their will in a certain manner if they were not suffering from cognitive issues at the time they were completing their will.
The Existence of an Updated Will
If you have found a different version of the decedent’s will that you believe may be a newer or more updated version, you may be able to present this in court and successfully invalidate the outdated will in question.
In more sinister cases, a will could be invalidated if you have grounds to believe that it was wrongfully tampered with, forged or acquired in a fraudulent manner. If you believe the will in question was in any way illegally altered or that the decedent was manipulated into signing a tampered will, your case may be eligible in court.
Duress is unfair persuasion or threats that are imposed on the testator to create certain terms in the will that may benefit the person imposing the duress.
In the state of Maryland, a will must meet a number of legal conditions to be considered valid. For example, the will must be in writing, signed by the testator or a permitted representative, and attested and signed by two witnesses. In addition, the testator must be at least 18 years of age and competent at the time they signed the will. If you believe that any of these requirements were not met, you may have a valid reason to contest the will.
How to Contest a Will with Mann & Risch LLC
Our attorneys at Mann & Risch have years of experience representing clients in matters involving estate administration and fiduciary litigation. If you are interested in speaking with an attorney about contesting a will and you feel there is a legitimate reason to contest a will that may have been tampered with or invalid, contact the dedicated Towson estate attorneys at Mann & Risch LLC. Get in touch today by calling 410-929-5145.
Tyler Mann was proficient, patient, and professional throughout my whole case! THERE IS NO OTHER OFFICE THAT COMPARES! I cannot stress this enough!