No one wants to deal with estate litigation, especially while still grieving the loss of a loved one. However, disputes between surviving family members and friends can easily lead to this type of legal action.
An estate litigation attorney in Linwood at Bratton Law offers the support and guidance you need to navigate a dispute, or to represent you through litigation. We understand the stress you are under, and how emotional this type of disagreement can be.
Let us look at your situation. We are knowledgeable about the New Jersey probate laws and statutes, and the state’s estate administration process. We also have a team of social workers and a registered nurse who can help you find the resources you need to reduce your stress and begin to grieve your loss. Call us today at 856-857-6007.
Why Should I Hire an Estate Litigation Attorney in Linwood, NJ?
Estate disputes are particularly devastating because they often pit family members against one another, creating rifts and severing ties between parents and children, siblings, and other close relationships. Most family members are able to work through disputes, especially when their loved one laid out their plans in a will or other document. Occasionally, though, family members in the midst of estate administration suffer a disagreement, breakdown in communication, and face litigation.
If you believe a dispute about how to administer your loved one’s estate may become serious, call an estate litigation attorney as soon as possible. When clients call our office, we work to understand their situation and guide them toward an agreement to the dispute before litigation becomes a certainty. If necessary, however, we can also provide legal representation in court.
Reaching out to an estate litigation attorney early in the process is especially important if you are administering the estate. You may need help protecting your reputation and ensuring accurate distribution of your loved one’s assets. We also frequently work with guardians and trustees, heirs, and potential heirs who need help settling an estate dispute.
Our estate litigation team knows how difficult it is to face this type of dispute so soon after the loss of your loved one and handles every case with compassion and empathy.
What Causes Estate Disputes in Linwood, New Jersey?
Estate disputes that escalate to litigation often stem from one of a few common causes:
- No will
- An invalid will, often because of lack of capacity or undue influence
- Issues with the executor or administrator of the estate
Wills and other similar documents play a central role in ensuring the intended heirs receive the assets left by a deceased loved one. When someone passes away without a will, there is a much higher risk of a dispute between potential heirs than if there was a valid will in place. A will is a roadmap to tell the estate administrator how to pay final bills and distribute assets. Without this map, family members and others may argue over their inheritance and even file litigation to claim certain assets.
Modern wills prepared with the help of an attorney are usually self-proving. This means the signature is already verified by witnesses and a notary, usually at the time the person created the will. When it comes time to probate this type of will, the Surrogate just checks for the signatures and notary stamp to validate the will. In most cases, this ends any potential dispute.
Occasionally, though, a potential heir will argue that the will is not valid because her loved one lacked capacity or was under undue influence at the time of the creation of the will.
Lack of capacity usually stems from a situation where the creator may not have known what she was doing, often because of Alzheimer’s or dementia. This may go hand-in-hand with undue influence. This occurs when an heir has undue power to convince the person to offer him more assets, or exclude others from the will. If we can prove either of these, it may be possible to revert to a previous will or at least invalidate the current document.
In some cases, the issue is not with the will itself but with the person who the will names the executor or the administrator of the estate. Mistakes and miscommunication early in the process can cause heirs to question the ability or trustworthiness of the administrator named in the will. Sometimes, the administrator did nothing wrong, but in-fighting or other issues within the family causes a dispute.
No matter which side you are on in this, an estate litigation attorney may be able to assist with your dispute. We can help ensure allegations of unethical behavior do not tarnish your reputation, and that you or the executor properly settles and distributes your loved one’s estate.
How Can a New Jersey Estate Litigation Lawyer Help Me Settle a Dispute or Handle Litigation?
We protect the rights of all clients, ensuring they receive the full assets they deserve from the estate administration process. We can help you settle disputes, or represent you in court if the dispute leads to litigation. Other services many of our clients need include:
- Interpretation of wills, trusts, and other documents
- Help with estate administration duties
- Management of undue influence and lack of capacity claims
- Resources help with valuation of assets and payment of debts
- Accounting help to determine estate and inheritance taxes
- Removal of an unfit executor or administrator
- Defending against unfit executor or administrator accusations
How Can I Talk to a Knowledgeable Estate Litigation Attorney in Linwood For Free?
At Bratton Law, our estate litigation team can answer any questions you may have about estate administration, estate disputes, or estate litigation in New Jersey. We will walk you through dispute settlement techniques, and can represent you in court if litigation is necessary. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about this type of legal action, so you can feel confident with us on your side.
Call our office today at 856-857-6007 to schedule a time to meet with a Linwood estate litigation attorney.