The Orphan’s Court in Maryland reviews wills to determine whether or not they are in compliance with state laws. A will is legally valid when it meets all the terms and requirements of Maryland law.
In the event that this analysis finds that the will was properly executed, the will’s terms will be carried out in accordance with the document’s directions. However, a person classified as an interested party could still object to the validity of a will by initiating a caveat proceeding, also known as a will contest.
A person can legally challenge a will for reasons such as claiming that you:
- Had a more recent will.
- Signed the will involuntarily.
- Did not have the proper legal capacity to sign the will.
- Did not sign it in front of two witnesses.
- Signed the will under mental impairment or duress.
If the court identifies that the will is not in compliance with Maryland law, the estate will be distributed under Maryland’s laws of intestacy as if the party had died without a will. This is something that most people who have taken a proactive role in their estate planning intend to avoid.
Will contests can slow down the administration of your estate and swallow up funds in the estate because the administrator has to respond to these claims or hire a probate litigator to help. The more steps you can take to decrease the chances of a will contest, the easier it will be for your beneficiaries.
Do not hesitate to get help from a knowledgeable Maryland estate planning attorney to discuss your own estate planning options.