Sometimes, disputes arise during the administration of an estate. Family members interpret the will differently, feuds occur, and the drama causes everyone to walk away with far less than their loved one meant for them to. The best way to avoid this is to prevent it, but when that is not possible, you need a strong estate litigation attorney in Cherry Hill on your side.
At Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys, our estate litigation team understands the nuanced and complicated New Jersey laws regarding probate and estate administration. Our lawyers offer legal advice and guidance, and can also provide you with resources that can make the process easier for you. To learn more about how our estate litigation attorneys can help you, call us today at (856) 857-6007.
How Can Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys Help Me When Estate Administration Turns to Litigation?
During the administration of most estates, the executor of the will or administrator of the estate takes the will through the probate process, gathers the assets, puts a value on them, pays any outstanding debts and applicable taxes, and distributes the remaining assets.
This process usually goes smoothly, and there are no issues. However, when there is a disagreement among family members, heirs, or those who believe they should be beneficiaries, things can get ugly quickly. Fights over assets, the intentions of the departed loved one, or even the validity of the will can lead to litigation.
If you find yourself in this situation, you need reliable legal representation. Whether you are the administrator, executor, a trustee, a guardian, or a beneficiary, we can offer knowledgeable support and advice, as well as represent you in court if necessary. Our compassionate estate litigation team has experience working with surviving spouses, adult children, parents, and other family members. We not only help you settle the dispute, we can also help you begin to heal from losing your loved one.
What Are the Most Common Types of Estate Administration or Probate Disputes?
Most estate litigation stems from cases where there is no will. A valid will eliminates many of the disputes that arise between family members. When there is not a will to outline the wishes of the deceased, there is often a power struggle between potential heirs for control of the assets.
However, occasionally there are issues even when there is a will.
In many cases, the argument is that the will is invalid. When you probate a will, the Surrogate or a clerk of court will check to ensure the will is valid. In most cases, this is a simple process because modern wills typically have the signature of the person, at least two witnesses, and a notary’s stamp. However, there are various arguments as to why a will might be invalid:
Lack of Capacity
Lack of capacity is one of the most common arguments used to back up an invalid will claim. If there is a true lack of capacity, the deceased did not understand what she was doing when she created her estate plan or changed her will. Often, beneficiaries claim their loved ones suffered from dementia or another mental health condition, or were on medications that made it difficult to think clearly.
Undue influence is another common reason heirs claim a will is invalid. Undue influence occurs when someone who has power or influence over the party convinces her to create or alter a will. Usually this leads to greater gain for a particular beneficiary or a group of beneficiaries while others receive a reduced portion of the assets.
Beneficiaries might also argue against the trustworthiness of the executor or administrator of the estate.
In most cases, the deceased party chose someone she trusted, or the court appointed someone it deemed trustworthy. But if something happens that makes a beneficiary lose trust in the executor — or if that beneficiary has a grudge against the executor — he might challenge the appointment.
While these are the most common reasons, there are dozens of reasons why you may need to contest a will. On the other hand, there are also dozens of reasons why another party may contest the validity of your family member’s estate plan.
We can help you defend your interests, and uphold your loved one’s intentions for her assets. Mistakes in distribution of an estate can cost you thousands in taxes, and you may even lose out on assets meant for you if you do not have a probate and estate litigation attorney on your side.
What Estate Litigation Services Does Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys Offer in Cherry Hill?
We have experience handling a wide range of estate disputes and litigation. No matter your probate or estate administration need, we have the skills and resources to meet it. We can create a plan to settle your dispute, whether that is through negotiation or litigation. Some of our other services include:
- Guidance and support for administration or executor duties
- Interpretation of wills and other estate documents
- Investigation of and support for undue influence and lack of capacity claims
- Dispute prevention and negotiation services
- Resources to aid in valuation of assets
- Estate accounting assistance, or objections to accounting
- The removal of an unfit executor or administrator
If you have concerns about the administration of an estate, or if a dispute arises during this process, you need a knowledgeable probate or estate litigation lawyer on your side. We offer all the resources and services you need, and the compassionate support you did not know you could ask for.
How Can I Talk to an Estate Litigation Attorney in Cherry Hill?
At Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys , we offer advice and support to beneficiaries and others in the estate administration process in New Jersey. We can help you reduce the risk of a dispute, manage a dispute if it occurs, and litigate the dispute in court if that becomes necessary.
Call our Cherry Hill estate litigation team today at (856) 857-6007. We will set up a time to discuss your case with you, and provide the support and resources you need to recover the assets you deserve.