Losing a loved one often results in a period of depression for close family members and friends. Depression is often accompanied by a sense of emotionlessness or an inability to take action in areas of your life that require attention. How long this emotional response to a loss lasts will vary depending on many factors.
Unfortunately, the depression that often comes with grief could cause legal headaches for you in the future. If you don't take the time to review the estate plan or last will of your loved one, you may not realize if there are mistakes or real issues with those documents until it is too late. Heirs, family members and beneficiaries in Maryland have a limited amount of time in which to challenge estate documents.
The clock starts when the executor assumes their role
In some states, the brief window of time where a family can challenge an estate plan or last will begins on the date of death. In Maryland, however, the proverbial clock does not start ticking until the date that the executor or trustee assumes their role. That day could be days or even months after the death.
Staying informed about the progress regarding the administration of the estate is of particular importance if you have worries about the contents of the last will. You may not have the opportunity to read the last will until the executor begins distributing copies of the documents to beneficiaries and family members.
Be prepared to sit down and examine that document as soon as possible so that you can take timely action. You only have six months from the date the executor assumes their role to bring a challenge against an estate, in most cases.
Getting legal help may be the fastest way to make a decision
Even if you have experience with the intensely technical legal language used in Maryland estate plans, trusts and last wills, you may have a hard time processing the information when it relates to the estate of someone you cared for. If you don't have experience in these areas of law, you may not even be able to decipher much of the text.
Seeking the counsel of an experienced Maryland estate and probate attorney will allow for the easiest and most accurate review of the legal documents from the estate. An attorney will be able to let you know if there are any noteworthy discrepancies or issues.
They can also advise you as to whether or not the circumstances surrounding the estate make a challenge feasible or likely to be successful. The sooner you seek expert legal advice, the sooner you can make an informed decision about the estate of someone you love.