When a person in New Jersey writes a will, they generally believe they are making clear their intentions for how they want their estate dispersed between their heirs after their death. And, for the most part, a properly executed will does just that. However, there could be times when an heir feels the will should not be followed and wants to contest it. This can lead to estate litigation.
It is important to note that challenging a will can be difficult. This is because it is presumed that if the will was executed with all proper formalities, it is valid and should be followed. However, there are circumstances that could provide grounds for challenging a will.
For example, a person could argue that the testator was unduly influenced when executing the will. For example, if the testator was isolated from loved ones, and the person isolating the testator was the primary beneficiary of the testator’s will, it could be argued that that person unduly influenced the testator into leaving the majority of his or her estate to them. This could be an argument for invalidating a will.
Another argument is that the testator did not have the mental capacity to execute a will at the time it was signed. Medical evidence or other evidence could be used to show that the testator was mentally unable to understand the extent of their estate, who their heirs were or how the will was distributing their estate to their heirs. This also could be an argument for invalidating a will.
These are two circumstances that could possibly give rise to estate litigation. Of course, this is only a general overview of this topic and doesn’t address other legal issues regarding estate litigation, such as who has standing to pursue such litigation and how long they have to file such a claim with the court. The general information found in this post should not be relied upon as legal advice. Instead, those wishing to challenge a will can consult with estate law professionals so they can learn more about their options.