Are you involved in a dispute with your family over an estate after a parent or another member of your family has passed? Estate disputes can cause serious, long-term damage to relationships within families. Otherwise close siblings may stop speaking, and relationships that had been strong can be damaged permanently.
If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone and that there are compromises that can eliminate the dispute and keep your family intact. Our team is here to help you through the process of estate litigation, reducing the likelihood of a major disagreement among your family members.
Contact Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys today at (609) 493-4987 for a review of your case.
Common Reasons Why Estate Disputes Occur
There are numerous reasons why an estate dispute could occur. Some of the more common reasons are:
Because most wills today require multiple witnesses, notary stamps, and a signature, it is extremely difficult to fake a will. However, claims that a will is invalid do arise. It is possible that a new document has surfaced to take precedence over the previous document or that the will lacks the required content. There may be claims that the will is invalid because it was not properly drafted, signed, or witnessed. A legal challenge will also arise if someone suspects that the will or trust are forged or that the signatures on the document have been forged.
Lack of Capacity
At the end of their lives, some adults are not in the best state of mind. They may be suffering from dementia or on medication that impacts their ability to think clearly. A will or trust can be declared invalid if it can be proven that the person did not have the mental capacity to make a will or trust. This is usually established through a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, psychosis, senility, or dementia prior to the person’s death.
When a person is compelled or coerced to execute a will or trust by a trusted advisor, friend, relative, or group or relatives, this is called undue influence. Oftentimes the influencer is able to pressure the person to alter long-established estate plans. It may be that the will is altered to pass the property on to someone other than the descendants of the deceased, or it is also possible that one child or a group of children will coerce the parent into leaving the bulk of the state to them, leaving one or more of the other children out of the will entirely.
Challenges Against the Executor or Administrator
In some cases, regardless of whether the executor or administrator is appointed by the now-deceased or the courts, family members may challenge their appointment. This person owes a fiduciary duty of loyalty, honesty, and prudence to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust, and the beneficiaries need to be able to trust the executor or administrator to carry out the terms of the will as the deceased intended. If they do not trust this person, it can result in problems and potentially costly delays.
Our estate litigation lawyers in Monroe Township, NJ, are here to provide compassionate legal advice and representation and help you navigate New Jersey’s estate laws under Title 3B: 3-1, et seq. We even have social workers on our staff who can offer support and resources for those who are still having a difficult time after losing a family member. For a review of your case, contact Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys today at (609) 493-4987.
How an Estate Litigation Lawyer in Monroe Township, NJ, Can Help
We understand how painful this process can be. You may still be suffering from the loss of a loved one and now face a dispute with siblings you had always trusted. We get it. Our estate litigation lawyers in Monroe Township, NJ, are here to help. Regardless of the circumstances at the core of the dispute, we can analyze your case and form a plan to settle the dispute through negotiation or litigation.
Some specific ways we can help are:
- Giving you advice on administrator or executor responsibilities
- Preventing disputes as much as possible and managing them if they do arise
- Performing an assessment and valuation of the assets
- Interpreting the will and trust to ensure you have clarity about your family member’s intent.
- Investigating your case to assess the validity of incapacity or undue influence claims
- Helping with investment decisions
- Demanding estate accounting or submitting objections to accounting
- Seeing to the removal of an executor or administrator if they are deemed to be unfit for the role
Estate disputes can be devastating in the way that they position family members against each other, creating conflict among siblings, between parents and their children, and in other close relationships. While families are often able to work through these conflicts on their own, sometimes the need for estate litigation can arise.
Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys can help you with your legal needs regarding estate litigation. If you suspect that a dispute may arise among the members of your family after your loved one has passed, an estate litigation lawyer in Monroe Township, NJ, can work with you to understand your situation and help you find a solution before the dispute becomes a certainty.
We can protect your reputation and your rights, ensuring your loved one’s assets are distributed as they intended. We can work with the trustees and heirs to settle disputes, and, in the event that the matter does go to court, we can provide legal representation for you there as well.
We understand how difficult an estate dispute can be after losing someone you love, and we are here to make the process go as smoothly as possible for you. Contact Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys today at (609) 493-4987 for an evaluation of your case.