The following circumstances are far too common:
- A father with several children experiences a divorce.
- Right after this divorce, that same father meets a woman who becomes his girlfriend.
- A number of years later, the father passes.
- None of this father’s assets are left to his children; they are, instead, left to his girlfriend.
- The children want to contest this will’s validity but are unsure how to do so.
Every single one of these circumstances is relatively common, and, as a result, situations of this sort can be dealt with in a manner that is both legal and effective.
If you have questions about a loved one’s will, the DC and Maryland estate litigation attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl can assist you.
Who Can Contest A Will?
The definition of “will” is as follows: a legal document that states a deceased individual’s wishes and instructions for managing and distributing their estate right after their death.
A will is a legal document that is bound to the laws from which it was developed. In this context, one of the most notable laws is Maryland Rule 6-431.
Within the state of Maryland, and Washington D.C., the only people who can contest a will are as follows:
- The heirs of the deceased individual.
- The legatees named within the will.
Someone who is named within the will can contest the will. But, even if an individual is not named within the will, so long as they are an heir – a child, for example -then they can contest the will.
Given the facts outlined above, a child or group of children whose father left his girlfriend everything can challenge their father’s will.
What Are The Grounds To Contest A Will?
A will cannot be contested for just any reason. Instead, a child who wishes to contest a will must have reasonable grounds to do so. Some of the most notable grounds to contest a will are as follows:
- The will did not meet the legal requirements of developing a will.
- A particular individual exerted undue influence over the deceased, thereby affecting the will’s provisions.
- The provisions within the will were made under duress.
- The provisions within the will were induced through fraud.
- The deceased individual was mentally impaired when the will was developed.
- The will is a forged document.
- A new will has superseded the provisions within the will.
When Can A Will Be Contested?
Right after the deceased passes away and the estate is opened up, children can begin to contest the will. But, if they wait more than six months after the estate was opened up, they will be unable to contest the will.
The time to contest a will is brief, and for this reason, it’s best to file a petition to caveat as soon as possible. By doing so, the will can be contested, allowing the heirs to receive what they are entitled to.
Maryland And D.C. Estate Litigation Attorneys
Contact the seasoned and experienced Maryland and D.C. estate litigation lawyers at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl for more information. We have the skills and expertise you need. We have proven experience with estate litigation law for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD, and Washington, DC.