Maryland Probate Litigation Lawyer
The probate process exists to ensure the proper authentication of a decedent’s will and to oversee the administration of an estate. Ideally, the court will authorize a personal representative to pay debts and distribute assets to the heirs listed in the will.
However, situations may arise where heirs believe that the will does not accurately reflect the decedent’s wishes. Members of the estate may also believe that the personal representative has not fulfilled their obligations under the law. Either of these scenarios could result in disputes in probate court.
If you need to protect your legal rights after the death of a loved one, a Maryland probate litigation lawyer could help you. An experienced attorney could assist with disputing the authenticity of a will, defending the legality of testamentary documents, or investigating the actions of personal representatives.
Defending the Rights of Heirs During Probate
The core function of probate is to ensure that a decedent’s wishes are fulfilled after their passing. This usually involves the court authenticating a will and overseeing the proper distribution of assets. However, parties may dispute whether a will is authentic or argue that a more recent version of a will should control the estate.
A Maryland probate litigation attorney could help with debating the authenticity of a will. According to the Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts § 5-207, parties who wish to contest a will have up to six months after the appointment of a personal representative to do so. There are numerous legal grounds upon which a party may contest a will, including the following:
- The will fails to meet the legal requirements for construction under state law
- Undue influence led to the testator nominating improper heirs
- The testator lacked the intent or capacity to make a will
However, it is important to note that the court may apply the state’s intestacy rules if the will is found invalid. Those who wish to contest a will in Maryland should consult with a skilled lawyer to learn the implications of probate litigation in their specific situation.
Evaluating the Actions of Personal Representatives in Maryland
While the court has the sole authority to oversee the administration of an estate, only a personal representative can take the steps necessary to ensure that heirs receive the proper assets. The Ann. Code of MD, Estates and Trusts § 7-101 states that a personal representative is a fiduciary with the obligation to act in the best interests of the members of the estate. Because of the person’s status as a fiduciary, they are personally liable for any malfeasance that leads to a drop in the value of the estate.
A local probate litigation attorney could help to pursue lawsuits against personal representatives who fail in their duties to maintain and administer the estate. A skilled lawyer could also help personal representatives to defend themselves against these allegations in probate court.
Contact a Maryland Probate Litigation Attorney Today
The probate process offers many opportunities for litigation due to the contentious nature of the proceedings. It is important to seek legal counsel when protecting your rights, as the outcome of the probate process could have a significant impact on you and your family.
A Maryland probate litigation lawyer could explain the legal process and identify your needs. Whether this involves disputing the authenticity of a will, evaluating the actions of a personal representative, or defending you against allegations of wrongdoing, the experienced attorneys at our firm are ready to support you. Call today for an initial consultation.