Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Maryland

Can a step child legally witness the will of a step parent?

Asked on 11/29/10, 7:34 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Phillip M. Cook Cook Legal Services, LLC

A credible witness is a person over the age of eighteen, who is competent to understand what they are witnessing. Although it is not prohibited by law, potential beneficiaries (such as a step-child) are discouraged from witnessing wills. If there is no dispute over the instrument, a will witnessed by a beneficiary is valid and will be accepted for probate. However, in the event of a will contest, an instrument witnessed by a beneficiary could be met with skepticism, and may be portrayed by a skillful probate litigator as evidence of undue influence by the beneficiary. It is best to proceed with caution in this instance, and only use witnesses who have no stake in the estate proceeds.

Best of luck.*****The above is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client privilege.*******

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Answered on 12/04/10, 7:50 am

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