The last will and testament provide for the distribution of an individual’s estate upon their passing. However, these documents are not entirely binding, and if certain circumstances occur, either a provision of the will or the will in its entirety may be challenged.
When discussing probate litigation, it is important to overview the probate process. Probate is the term used to describe the process through which the last will and testament of a deceased person is recognized, and the process of arranging their affairs begins. An administrator will be appointed who will oversee the assets and debts left behind by the deceased.
The litigation process begins when an individual challenges either a provision of the will, the appointment of an administrator, or the entirety of the will. Common litigation includes an area such as:
- Lack of mental capacity;
- Improper signing of the will;
- Duress; and
- Undue influence.
Each of these instances refers to a portion of or the entirety of the will be void due to circumstances surrounding the deceased. The will is invalid if the deceased did not create it or any of its provisions of his or her own volition, without outside pressure or diminished mental capabilities.
Challenging the will of the deceased does not have an unlimited time frame. As soon as the creator of the will has passed away, a challenge to the will may be issued. This must be filed before the first hearing for probate petition, during which the court discusses whether the will is, in fact, valid. If the will has already been deemed valid by a probate court, it is still possible to file a petition to revoke will probate up to 120 days after the date of the hearing.
Probate lawyers in Maryland
If you have questions about estate planning, contact the attorneys at Kamerow Law Firm. Our legal professionals have years of experience assisting clients with a variety of their estate planning needs.
If you find yourself in need of probate assistance, contact us online or give us a call at 703-370-8088. We get involved with our clients’ probate issues and are available every step of the way.
Planning an estate and writing a will are two important steps that anyone can take to aid in planning for the future. No matter how small or large, everyone has an estate, and planning for the distribution of this estate upon death can save many headaches down the line. Listed below are a few will writing tips to aid in the process.
One of the most important tips for writing a will is to keep it organized. Create a storage system for all financial records, titles, or insurance claims in a safe, marked location, which can be easily found by a family member. This ensures that all the proper information that is needed during the probate process can be found. This is also a great time for an individual to review all of his or her paperwork in order to make sure the wording is clear, there are no existing errors on the documents, and that any beneficiary designations are not out of date.
What is probate property?
When writing a will, it is important for an individual to understand which of his or her assets are subject to probate. Regardless of if a will is present, many assets must still go through the probate process. This is to ensure that after an individual’s death, all of his or her financial obligations are met, which may include selling parts of the estate that are subject to the probate process. There are certain assets, however, that avoid this route and may pass directly to any named beneficiaries. IRA accounts, life insurance policies, 401(k)s are common examples of non-probate property.
Although it is not necessary, seeking direction from an experienced attorney can aid greatly in the will planning process. These individuals can answer any questions about creating a will, maintaining a will, and the entire probate process and distribution of assets upon death.
Estate planning lawyers in Maryland
Clients who need help with their estate planning can find relief with Kamerow Law Firm knowledgeable and experienced in wills, estate and trust administration, and powers of attorney, we can help you to make sure your estate plans are in order.
If you find yourself in need of estate planning assistance, contact us online or give us a call at 703-370-8088. We get involved with our clients’ estate planning issues and are available every step of the way.
Planning an estate is not something that anyone wants to think too much about. After all, you are planning for your own passing, which is never an enjoyable thing to consider. However, there are a handful of considerations that you should make before you start drafting your will.
Your Immediate Family
The first thing that you should think about is your own immediate family. Do you have a spouse? Do you have any ex-spouses? Do you have any kids? How many do you have and how old are they? Are they from your current marriage or from a previous one?
Your immediate family’s situation is often the most important thing to think about when you plan out your estate. How you distribute your assets to them can make a huge impact on their lives.
For example, if you have two children, and one of them is a doctor but the other is a struggling painter, then it can make sense to give more to the artist than to the doctor. However, if there is bad blood between the two, then not splitting things evenly might lead to the will being contested, which would take legal fees out of the estate to resolve, resulting in less for both of them.
Sometimes, there may be other reasons for splitting your assets unevenly between your immediate family. Many people use their wills as a final way to show their preference for one person over another. Deciding if this is something that you want to do, and how you want to do it, is something to carefully consider before sitting down to draft your last will and testament.
How Much You Have to Give
How much you have to give in your will is always a limiting factor to what you can do. In fact, for some people without many assets at all, deciding not to have a will might even be a fine decision.
Before drafting your will, however, it is a wise decision to make an extensive and detailed list of everything that you own. If you do this, you will rest assured that you are not leaving anything out, and are controlling who gets everything.
A final thing to consider is estate tax. Minimizing how much money goes to Uncle Sam maximizes how much ends up in the hands of the people you want to give it to.
Let Us Assist You with Estate Planning Services
The estate planning attorneys at Kamerow Law Firm can help you prepare you will. Contact us online or by phone at 703-370-8088.