Most individuals aren’t aware of the contents of a loved one’s will until after their loved one passes.
It can be disappointing and downright shocking if you find out that your loved one has left you less than what you expected — or has even completely written you out of their will. If you believe that your loved one wouldn’t have intentionally done this, then you may be able to contest their will.
There are three primary grounds on which you can contest a will.
If you’ve loved one’s will wasn’t properly executed per state law, then you may be able to easily convince a probate judge to have it thrown out. Maryland, like all states, has unique requirements that must be met for a will to be considered as valid. Some require it to be typewritten and then for it to be signed by the testator and witnesses. Others don’t. Some states even allow for oral wills to be made.
You’ve likely heard news stories about elderly individuals marrying a younger love interests shortly before their deaths. If their will reflects that they signed most if not all of their assets over to them soon after this occurred, then it may be possible for a party who’d expected to be that testator’s heir to claim that they were subjected to undue influence.
Intended heirs have also been successful in contesting wills by proving that the testator was subjected to undue influence from a financial planner, attorney, caregiver, friend or any other trusted confidant.
Wills may be contested if an heir believes that their loved one was taken advantage of by one of these individuals due to their declining mental capacity. Witnesses to the testator’s signing of their will must be able to attest to the fact that the testator was true of testamentary capacity, or mentally aware of what they were doing, for a will to be considered as valid in virtually any jurisdiction.
An intended heir may also contest a will if they have concerns that someone tricked the testator into signing a will that didn’t adequately reflect their final wishes.
A wills and trusts attorney can provide you with guidance throughout estate administration and probate processes. This includes reviewing your case to see if there’s a valid reason to contest your loved one’s will.