Do I Have Standing to Contest a Will?

In this article, we’re talking about contesting a will. This is a type of estate litigation, and we’ve written an entire series on this subject. If you missed any of our posts in this series, please see our Index to the series to catch up on what you’ve missed, or to skip ahead to the topic that interests you.

The Gormley Law Office is pleased to present this information. We are a full service probate and estate planning law firm, specializing in estate litigation. Call us today to discuss your individual concerns and needs.

In our previous posts, we talked about inheritance theft, what it is and some steps to prevent it. Contesting a will is the next step once you’ve determined that there is a problem with an estate of a loved one who has passed away. Problems can include suspicious changes to a will or a trust, you suspect under influence or a personal representative isn’t acting in a way that you don’t agree with.

It’s important to consider how pursuing this type of litigation will affect your family before you begin. Often times there are “factions” within families – for example, two or more family members are upset because the other family members have behaved in a suspicious or unethical way. If there are several family members who want to contest a will, you may be able to work together on the costs.

It’s also important to consider how pursing this type of litigation will affect you and your emotional health and wellbeing. If you are the only family member against the rest of your family, it might be difficult to stand on your own against the rest of your family. Make sure you have a support system in place and a plan for how to manage the stress and uncertainty.

To contest a will, you have to have a reason to do so. The legal term for this reason is called “standing.” Generally, you must either be an heir (you may have inherited property had the person died without a will under the laws of intestacy) or you must be named in the will. There may be exceptions, however, and we suggest you consult with an attorney to determine if you have standing to challenge a will.

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Probate, Estate Planning and Real Estate Attorney
Brian Gormley, Esq. is an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia specializing in real estate, probate, estate litigation and other matters. If you need assistance, please use the Contact Feature at the bottom of this page.
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