Who Has Standing to Contest a Will in Maryland?

August 22, 2019

It is well-known that a Last Will and Testament can be contested, primarily for reasons such as forgery, fraud or undue influence. In Maryland, these hearings are referred to as “caveat proceedings” and are handled by the Orphans’ court, or state probate court.

To have standing to file a caveat proceeding inMaryland, you must be considered an “interested party”. Two factors determinewhether you qualify. First, you are a beneficiary of a will or if there is nowill and the decedent died intestate, then you stand to inherit by the laws ofintestate succession.

You must act swiftly if you plan to contest a will. Thestatute of limitations for a caveat proceeding in Maryland is six months fromthe initial appointment of a personal representative.

To determine whether you have grounds for a willcontest, consider the following:

  • You have grounds if the will contradicts any statelaws such as the requirements for validity (in writing, signed by the testator,signed by two witnesses, and the testator was over the age of eighteen).
  • If someone can be shown to have coerced the testatorinto signing the will, you have grounds known as undue influence.
  • If you can show that the testator was not of soundmind at the time the will was executed you may have grounds to contest.
  • If you believe the will entered into probate wasrevoked by a new will, you can contest probating the old will.
  • If you can show the will was forged, you have groundsto contest.

Keep in mind that unfair allocations, such as yoursister inherits more than you, are not grounds for contesting a will inMaryland.

If you’d like to speak with an attorney about contesting a will or if you are an executor of a will who is facing a challenge in the Greater Baltimore area, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599.

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