While the process of administering an estate often goes smoothly, that is not always the case. Grief can exacerbate difficult family dynamics, potentially leading to conflict during the administration process. These disagreements can quickly spiral into difficult litigation.
Litigation issues surrounding the estate of a loved one carries risks. Without the proper legal representation, you could find yourself missing out on the property and assets that were intended for you. In other cases, you could find yourself burdened with an unreasonable amount of tax debt or other obligations.
In these cases, the guidance of a Mount Laurel estate litigation lawyer can be beneficial. The lawyers of the Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys team can help you protect your rights and work to simplify the administration process for your loved one’s estate. To learn more, call (856) 857-6007 and schedule a confidential case evaluation today.
When to Contest a Will or Testamentary Document
When it comes to contesting a will, the law you do to so before or after the will is offered for probate. However, the process of initiating a contest varies. For example, you can contest a will before probate by filing a caveat with the Burlington County Surrogate’s Court. The court will address any issues raised in the caveat before the administration of the estate can begin.
The process is different when it comes to challenging a will in response to a probate filing. In that situation, you must raise a complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey Chancery Division. Ultimately, the court will determine the validity of a challenge after hearing both sides.
Taking on the challenge of estate litigation on your own can bring many difficulties. Even determining when and how to challenge a will or testamentary document requires a thorough understanding of the law. To protect your rights, contact a Mount Laurel estate litigation lawyer right away. The attorneys of the Bratton Law Group are ready to review your case and advise you on how best to proceed.
For a legal consultation with a estate litigation lawyer in Mount Laurel, call 856-857-6007
How Disputes Lead to Litigation
Disputes during the probate process can have a devastating impact on a family. As these disputes drag out, the relationships among family members may continue to fray. The divisions that form during these disputes can last a lifetime.
An appropriate estate plan can help a family avoid most of the issues that lead to litigation during probate. When litigation becomes necessary, our team can help during every stage of the process. Some of the common sources of estate litigation include:
Lack of a Will
One of the most common sources of dispute following the death of a loved one is the lack of a will. With no will in place, it is impossible for the court to know how to enact the deceased person’s final wishes. Therefore, state law will determine who inherits what, which might go against what the decedent promised each family member verbally before passing. Even the identity of the estate administrator could result in litigation when a will is not present.
A will is of little use if it is invalid under the law. There are technical requirements that a will must meet, and failure to comply with those requirements could result in an invalid testamentary document. Even simple errors, like the lack of a notary stamp, could cause significant problems during administration.
Lack of Capacity
A will can be valid on its face and still result in a challenge. One of the basic tenets of a valid will is that the person executing it had the mental capacity to do so. A document executed by a person that is mentally incapacitated is not legally binding. These disputes are often difficult, as they can involve competing arguments about the competency of a family member before their death.
Undue influence is another common basis for estate litigation in Mount Laurel. Undue influence challenges typically occur when a person radically alters their will shortly before their death. Any effort to unlawfully push a person to alter their will—be it through fraud, manipulation, or fear—could result in the court finding the will invalid.
Administrator Bias or Error
Some challenges to a will or probate relate to the behavior of the estate administrator. This could involve allegations that the administrator has been negligent in their duties or acted in a biased manner. These challenges could also involve claims of fraud against the estate administrator.
Mount Laurel Estate Litigation Lawyer 856-857-6007
How Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys Can Help
There are a variety of services that Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys can perform on your behalf during an estate dispute. Your rights under the law are important, and we will aggressively defend them.
Whether you are the administrator of the estate or a family member seeking a fair share of the property, we can take the steps necessary to defend your rights and protect your reputation. Some of the ways we can assist in estate litigation include:
- Defending administrators against claims of bias or fraud.
- Removing an unfit administrator.
- Overseeing the funding of a trust.
- Advising you of your rights.
- Pursuing litigation in probate court.
Long, drawn-out litigation during the estate administration process is not helpful to anyone involved. We will take the steps to not only obtain a favorable result but do so in a manner that allows you to move on with your life.
Speak with a Mount Laurel Estate Litigation Lawyer Today
The Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys team is ready to advise you of your rights and help you pursue the outcome that you deserve. Whether you are a family member or an estate administrator, you deserve strong legal representation. To obtain the legal counsel you deserve, call (856) 857-6007 to schedule a free consultation today.