Q: What happens if someone refuses to sign probate papers?
Everyone has already appeared in Orphan's court and agreed to the administators. Bit now one person is refusing to sign the approval papers. Can the court make everyone proceed with probate?
A: Your question says you are in DC, but it is posed as a Maryland question, and I am going to guess the estate is filed in PG County, because, even though it's called Orphan's Court formally, in Montgomery, the hearings are in the Circuit Court by the Circuit Court bench, so laypeople never call it Orphan's Court. I say all that, because where you are matters. The short answer is that the Petition for Probate can proceed if some heirs disagree with the appointment of the administrators, which is more commonly called the personal representatives these days. Nevertheless, disagreement can result in additional hearings and additional supervision that will increase probate costs. A skilled and respected lawyer could help the family navigate this difficult time.
A: The court holds a hearing and will appoint a PR, most likely the one all the other interested persons agreed to, unless the objecting party can show a good reason why that person is not fit to serve.
The Court does not need everyone's consent to "proceed with probate". Consent may affect whether or not the appointed person needs to post full or nominal bond.
The law sets an order of priority for people to serve as Personal Representative. When multiple people with the same priority try to get appointed this needs to be resolved either by agreement (filing written consents) or by court order.
Did the court make a ruling and appoint a Personal Representative when "everyone ... appeared in Orphan's court"? If so, then looking at the court's order would likely answer the question.
The general information in this post is not intended as legal advice. Anyone involved with a probate matter may wish to consult with a lawyer to get advice concerning the specifics of their situation.
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