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Rockville Maryland Estate Litigation Legal Blog

Considerations for avoiding future inheritance conflicts

In creating your estate plan, you document your wishes to thoughtfully leave your assets to your spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings and other loved ones. Your plan is likely the result of considerable thought, effort and detail to protect against the unknowns of the future and provide for your loved ones.

Unfortunately, disputes can still occur after the death of a loved one, regardless of the meticulous effort that went into the estate plan. Whether your heirs get along great or constantly feud, anticipating inheritance issues can minimize the possibility of a contentious future dispute.

Is it smart to make your will online?

Quick, cheap and easy is generally a good way to get tasks done. However, when it comes to creating an estate plan, cutting corners to save time and money is not the way to plan for your family's future.

Online do-it-yourself estate planning services have begun popping up more and more often. While they may seem tempting with ease-of-use and low fees, creating an estate plan online may create more problems than it solves in the long run.

Where should you store your will?

What would you do if the will you created became lost or damaged and no one realized it until after your passing? Would your attorney or loved ones know where to find a copy? Improperly storing your will can lead to confusion when it comes time for a probate court to distribute your assets.

Instead of throwing your will in a drawer or somewhere it can become damaged or lost, consider these options:

Proactive estate planning can benefit blended families

Remarriage and blended families are increasingly common today across both Maryland and the U.S. According to the Pew Research Center, data from a 2013 study showed that 40 percent of new marriages were a subsequent marriage for at least one spouse. In 1960, this number was at just 13 percent.

For blended families, the already complex topic of estate planning can be especially daunting. You may be hesitant on how to approach the subject with your spouse while adult children may grow concerned on their parent’s preparedness for the unknown.

Can a sibling of the deceased challenge the will?

In Maryland, the process of challenging the validity of a will is legally called a caveat proceeding, and only an interested person can initiate this process. Although the name makes it sound like anyone with a desire to challenge the will would be able to do so, this is not the case. Only those who legally qualify as interested people have the standing to challenge the validity of a will.

Someone is legally considered an interested person if he or she is named in the will or would have stood to inherit if there was no will. If you are a sibling of the deceased and want to challenge the will, you can only do so if you meet either of these requirements.

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