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.
When a person in New Jersey dies, he or she may have left behind a will that dictates who is to inherit his or her assets. While most of the time the terms of the person's will are followed, there are instances in which estate litigation is pursued by an heir who believes the will should be invalidated. In general, there are four grounds on which a person can challenge a will.
Many people who execute a will in our state have very strong opinions about who should inherit their property. They may even want to go as far as inserting a clause in their will stating that if an heir pursues estate litigation, he or she will be disinherited. However, are such "no-contest" clauses enforceable under state law?
The loss of a loved one can leave a family in New Jersey grief-stricken. The matter can be made even worse if a person believes the terms of their loved one's will should not be followed, for example, if they believe the will was executed under undue influence or when their loved one was incompetent. However, before a person can pursue estate litigation, he or she must have standing to challenge a will.
Last week this blog discussed will contests and what steps a person in New Jersey must take to contest a will. Will contests are a common type of estate litigation. However, estate litigation can cover a wide variety of issues that people might face when it comes to carrying one out an estate plan after a person's death.
Whether it is in a sudden fatal car crash, at the end of a lengthy illness or simply due to old age, the death of a loved one is never easy. Some people in Parsippany may have executed a will during their lifetime. However, what if after the person's death an heir does not believe the will should be followed?
As many residents of Northern New Jersey may unfortunately know, losing a loved one is never easy. Matters can be made worse, however, if the deceased's heirs are fighting over the terms or validity of the decedent's will or trust. Also, issues could arise with regards to how the executor of the estate is carrying out his or her duties. All of this can lead to estate litigation. And, as laws and society change, the picture of what estate litigation looks like may also change.
As divorce in New Jersey and across the nation has become more commonplace, so do "blended" families. While a second marriage can bring much joy, sometimes having a blended family can become problematic. This can be the case when a parent dies, leaving behind a spouse, stepchildren and children from the parent's first marriage. Situations like this can lead to bitter feelings when it comes to a party's inheritance and could even lead to estate litigation.
Losing a loved one is understandably an emotional time. Sometimes, disagreements that were kept quiet while a person was alive rise up once that person passes away, especially when it comes to who should inherit what, or how a loved one's estate is being administered.
Five-dollar foot-long subs may have catapulted the sandwich fast food franchise, Subway, into financial success, but that doesn't mean the estate of the late Subway founder, Fred DeLuca, is without controversy. As one recent ruling involving DeLuca's estate shows, estate litigation can spring forth after a person passes on.