Estate Litigation in Maryland
Estate litigation is another way of describing the disputes that may arise in a person’s estate after they pass away, such as distribution issues, disinheritance, personal representative misbehavior, or will disputes. While it is a sensitive and complex matter, may of these disputes have strict time requirements to file or the claim is barred. It is crucial to address these disputes to ensure the wishes of the deceased are honored and to protect the interests of all parties involved. In such cases, hiring an attorney experienced in the various estate litigation disputes can be invaluable.
Who Needs Estate Litigation?
After a loved one passes, there may be many reasons why you could benefit from estate litigation. Here are just a few examples:
- People Who Need Help Resolving Disputes: Estate litigation becomes necessary when conflicts arise among family members, beneficiaries, or other parties involved in the administration of an estate. Disputes can emerge due to allegations of undue influence, lack of mental capacity, or the validity of the will or trust documents.
- Protecting Rights and Interests: Estate litigation helps protect the rights and interests of all involved parties, including beneficiaries, heirs, and even creditors. It ensures fairness and adherence to the deceased person’s intentions, preventing potential exploitation or mismanagement of assets.
- Challenging Invalid Documents: Estate litigation can be essential in challenging the validity of a will or trust document. If there are concerns regarding fraud, coercion, or improper execution, an attorney can guide individuals through the legal process to challenge or contest the document.
- Addressing Breach of Fiduciary Duties: In cases where an executor, administrator, or trustee fails to fulfill their fiduciary obligations, estate litigation can hold them accountable. An attorney can help navigate complex legal requirements and ensure the responsible party is held liable for any misconduct or mismanagement.
How an Estate Litigation Attorney Can Help
It is important to work with an experienced estate litigation attorney as there are unique circumstances and legal instruments that can be used, in Maryland, to ensure the estate is properly handled. Your attorney should be able to provide:
- Legal Expertise and Guidance: Estate litigation attorneys possess specialized knowledge in probate and estate laws, enabling them to provide expert guidance throughout the litigation process. They can assess the validity of claims, gather evidence, and develop a strategic legal approach tailored to the unique circumstances of each case.
- Objective Advice and Mediation: An attorney brings objectivity to emotionally charged estate disputes. They can act as a mediator, facilitating negotiations and attempting to find amicable resolutions before resorting to courtroom litigation. Their role is to protect their clients’ interests while working towards fair outcomes.
- Comprehensive Case Evaluation: Estate litigation attorneys conduct thorough evaluations of the case, analyzing relevant documents, evidence, and testimonies. They identify potential strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to build a strong legal strategy to present the most persuasive argument in court.
- Courtroom Representation: If negotiations fail, an estate litigation attorney can advocate for their client’s interests in court. They are skilled in presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and arguing persuasively to support their client’s position. Their courtroom experience is invaluable in ensuring the best possible outcome in complex estate litigation cases.
- A Network of Professionals: Estate litigation often involves complex financial, tax, and accounting issues. Attorneys specializing in this area typically have established connections with experts in related fields, such as forensic accountants or appraisers. This network allows attorneys to collaborate with professionals who can provide valuable insights and support during the litigation process.
- Efficient Resolution: Hiring an attorney for estate litigation can help expedite the resolution of disputes. Attorneys are familiar with legal procedures, court rules, and timelines, allowing them to navigate the process efficiently. Their expertise ensures that all necessary documents are filed correctly and within the specified timeframes.
Estate Litigation in Maryland is Unique
Estate litigation in Maryland follows specific laws and procedures that differentiate it from estate litigation in other jurisdictions. Here are a few examples of why estate litigation in Maryland may differ from other states.
- Elective Share: Maryland has an “elective share” law that entitles a surviving spouse to a specific portion of the deceased spouse’s estate, even if they were disinherited or received a smaller share under the will. This law aims to protect surviving spouses from being completely disinherited.
- Probate Process: Maryland has a specific probate process for administering estates, which involves filing necessary documents and obtaining court approval. Estate litigation may arise if there are disputes related to the probate process, such as challenges to the appointment of personal representatives or objections to the validity of a will.
- Non-Probate Assets: Disputes can arise with non-probate assets as well, most commonly related to beneficiary designations for retirement and life insurance accounts. Success in a non-probate asset dispute requires an attorney who is knowledgeable in both circuit and orphans’ courts and how the disposition of a non-probate asset dispute may affect the estate.
- Other Law Considerations: In Maryland, Estate disputes can arise out of bankruptcy, divorce, judgments, wrongful death, malpractice claims, and many other areas of the law not directly related to estate administration. In such cases, estate litigation attorneys in Maryland need to have a comprehensive understanding of all areas and the effects on and estate law.
Estate litigation is often devastating and arises when you least expect it to. The estate litigation attorneys at Frame & Frame have knowledge and experience that can be immensely helpful in navigating the complexities of these cases. Our attorneys provide valuable guidance, representation, and support to ensure fair and efficient resolutions. Reach out to schedule a free discovery call with our Client Care Coordinator and to speak with one of our estate litigation attorneys.