Unfortunately, probate is not always a smooth or straightforward process. Probate, which is the official proving of a will, is a necessary step to take after a loved one passes away before the assets in the will can be divided and the decedent’s last wishes can be carried out. We understand just how frustrating and upsetting it can be when a party disputes the will or, conversely, when you know that your loved one’s wishes are not being upheld due to undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, or some other issue. Luckily, an attorney can help resolve these problems. Below are some of the more common issues that arise during the probate process.
The Will’s Validity is Disputed
There are many reasons why a will could be invalid. For instance, the settlor may not have been mentally fit enough to create the will, or they were too old or sick during a modification. They may have signed off on something that they did not really intend to because of their current condition at the time of the modification. Does the will lay out unreasonable terms, give all of the property to a brand new friend, or is it strange in any other sort of way? This could be caused because the elderly settlor did not have the legal mental capacity to make decisions regarding their finances or health care. However, simply because the settlor still had legal capacity does not mean that a party cannot challenge a will on this basis of incompetence.
Additionally, another cause for this will’s invalidity could be due to undue influence. When another party uses fraudulent means to influence the settlor into making a decision about their will that is against the settlor’s best interest or against their free will, undue influence has occurred, according to the American Bar Association. Undue influence is most commonly targeted against older or mentally incapacitated individuals.
Property Value Disputes
Is that old rocking chair really worth as much as the settlor’s car? Property value disputes arise when property is supposed to be divided evenly, or if taxing the estate is necessary. A lawyer will help settle property value disputes by accurately determining the property’s value.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
The will’s executor is put in charge of making sure that the conditions of the will are met after the settlor passes away. A great amount of trust is put into the executor, who has a legal duty to uphold the will and the wishes of the settlor. When the executor breaches their fiduciary duty, possibly by being a beneficiary of the will and attempting to receive more property, issues are bound to arise.
Call Maryland Probate Attorney Tara K. Frame Today
The Anne Arundel County probate attorneys of Frame & Frame help clients resolve all types of probate disputes. Working with an experienced attorney will drastically improve your results and help speed the probate process up so that you and your loved ones can properly grieve and return to normal life. Call Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373.