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Estate Probate, Will And Estate Contest Litigation

Many people dread the Maryland probate process, fearing delays and bureaucratic red tape. But with an experienced probate attorney by your side, you have little to fear.

At Cooper Law Firm, we have over 40 years of legal and estate planning experience. We understand that the probate process is more than just a hoop to jump through, but a complex process that is affected by family dynamics, history and sentimental attachments.

What Probate Does

While the aim of the Maryland probate process is simply to verify the validity and enforceability of a will, in some cases court actions are requested. Taking the matter to court or "probate litigation" means the timeline for resolution depends on many contributing factors.

You may wish to pursue probate litigation if:

  • The personal representative or trustee has not fulfilled his or her duties.
  • You suspect the codicil (amendment to the will) is not valid.
  • Changes have been made to the will that were abrupt and unexpected.
  • Someone has exerted "undue influence" on the testator (maker of the will).
  • The will is not authentic or a signature is forged.
  • Many other reasons

Consult or work with an experienced Maryland will litigation lawyer to be ensured that things are settled justly and legally.

6 Things A Personal Representative Should Do

In most cases, a personal representative should:

  1. Identify probate assets
  2. File the necessary forms and tax returns required by law
  3. Petition the Maryland Register of Wills to begin the probate process
  4. Pay debts and funeral expenses from the estate within 6 months of the date of death (known as the fiduciary duty)
  5. Pay taxes incurred by the estate
  6. Distribute all remaining assets

Should a personal representative fail to follow through, speak with a probate attorney about which steps to take next.

What Is A Simplified Probate Proceeding?

If the Maryland estate is worth less than $30,000, the estate may qualify for statutory "small estate" proceedings. These can typically be closed within two months. The estate may qualify for a "modified estate administration." An experienced estate litigation lawyer can advise you if this is the case and how to proceed.

Maryland's Orphans' Court

Maryland will contests and probate are handled by the Orphans' Court. If you are questioning the legality or validity of a will, then you need to file a contest within six months from the day that the personal representative was appointed.

Get The Guidance You Need Today

For more information about the Maryland probate process and estate litigation, contact our firm. We will offer the legal counsel you need to make the decisions that best fit your end goals and your specific family situation. Call our Silver Spring, Maryland, office at 866-405-0124 to get started.