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DIY estate plan may be challenged in Maryland probate court

People's lives are not made from cookie cutters. Each person is different with varying goals and situations. Therefore, a good estate plan should also be tailored to fit a person's individual circumstances in Maryland or elsewhere. Hence, one may want to think twice about blindly using a template DIY will or any other generic estate-planning document, product or service.

Apparently, many people run into problems after using DIY templates that can be found on various places on the Internet. Many people are lured to these types of resources because they are generally inexpensive and are not complicated to utilize. However, in many of these cases, people receive what they pay for. DIY versions of wills and other estate-planning documents are known for being easily contested in court.

Much of this has to do with the DIY templates not conforming to individual circumstances. This can become a particularly problematic issue in cases of a previous marriage, joint-ownership in businesses, minor children who have special needs, and having substantial assets. DIY resources lack the capability of analyzing one's circumstances and can really only provide simple documents without any legal advice.

Therefore, even with a DIY estate plan or will, consumers in Maryland will still need to have a significant amount of legal knowledge at hand. The correct statutes and case law will need to be analyzed through the lens of a person's individual circumstances in order to properly design an effective estate-planning strategy. This will help prevent a will or any other estate-planning document from being challenged in probate court.

Source:, "Medigovich: Beware the pitfalls of do-it-yourself estate planning", Laura Medigovich, Oct. 24, 2014

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