Notice to Caveat in Will Contest?

Asked about 2 years ago - Glyndon, MD

I used the correct form in attempting to file a Notice to Caveat, but I was informed by a clerk at the Register of Wills that I did not use the right format? What is the correct format for filing a Caveat in Maryland?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. George E Meng

    Contributor Level 12

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you are serious about contesting the Will, you are making a mistake to try to do it without an attorney. I have been doing this kind of work for 39 years and have never seen an unrepresented person be successful. On the other hand, on a number of occassions I've been successful in having the Petition to Caveat of an unrepresented person dismissed because of one or more mistakes. This is a very strict technical area of the law and mistakes can kill your claim. Generally, even with a lawyer the statistical success rate for will contests is probably below 10%. Here, you've already got a mistake. Be wise, consult a lawyer.

  2. Helen M Smith

    Contributor Level 8

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with the other responses. You really should have an experienced estate litigation attorney review the case and give you an opinion on the matter. Will Contests are extremely difficult and if you do prevail, the Will prior to the Will you are contesting would come in. I am an estate planning and probate and trust administration attorney and I would hire an attorney if I needed to contest a Will! Good luck.

  3. Stephen Wills Murphy

    Contributor Level 9

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Meng. I only add that you should gather all of your documents, lists of witnesses, and copies of any other relevant documents, such as a copy of a prior will. You should then contact an attorney who does work in will contests or trust & estate litigation in Maryland. For some resources, have a look at this FAQ section on Maryland estate planning & probate:
    http://nationalwillrepository.com/faq/maryland/

    You should then contact an attorney to review your case and move forward. There are a variety of fees for this type of representation. This attorney may charge for an initial consult; they may charge by the hour; they may charge a contingency, based on if you win; or they may charge some hybrid.

    So you should be committed to the fact that you will need the assistance of an attorney, and you should find a fee arrangement that works with your financial situation and the prospects of success.

    I am licensed to practice law in Virginia. Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and... more
  4. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Attorneys Meng and Murphy have given you excellent answers. My experience has been the same as theirs. Wills are very difficult to overturn in court. Even if your facts are good, you run the risk of poisoning the court against you by failing to follow appropriate procedures. You also do not know the law. There are things that you might miss that could win/lose the case.

    Yes, lawyers can be expensive. Will contests CAN be long and costly. It is one of the reasons why most cases settle. The beneficiaries of the Will have the same problem as you, in that respect. But the Will is presumed to be valid until it is knocked out. THEIR attorney fees can also be paid out of the estate, while you are on your own, for yours. Nevertheless, if you proceed with this action without legal counsel, your chances go from difficult to darned near close to impossible.

    In one case we worked on, the result went from $15k to $260k, after we took over. Yes, we were paid handsomely for the result. But the client's award was multiplied MANY times over what she otherwise would have received. She also had the side-benefit, (if you want to call it that, of forcing the other side to expend a great deal of money to defend themselves). We conducted extensive discovery, numerous depositions, and basically destroyed the other side's will to continue. Our client would not have been able to do this on her own. I would respectfully suggest that you cannot effectively do so, either.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more

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