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Probate Litigation Lawyers in Trenton, NJ

Representing Clients Dealing with Will Contests and Estate Litigation

The loss of a loved one is an emotionally painful situation. When there are disputes over your deceased loved one’s will or the portion of assets inherited by a certain beneficiary who may be unhappy with what they received, a legal dispute can make the loss of your family member even more difficult. The attorneys at Bratton Law Group explain how probate litigation works in New Jersey and why hiring a probate litigation attorney may be the right choice for your case.

What Is Probate Litigation?

Probate litigation refers to the legal process of resolving disputes related to wills, trusts, and estates. It typically occurs when there are disagreements or conflicts among beneficiaries, heirs, or other interested parties regarding issues such as the distribution of assets or the validity of a will. This type of litigation can be used to deal with various issues, such as trust administration, financial power of attorney abuse, and challenges to the appointment of an executor or trustee.

During probate litigation, the court plays a crucial role in overseeing the resolution of these disputes. It may consider evidence, hear testimony from witnesses, and make decisions based on applicable laws and the intentions of the deceased as expressed in their will or estate plan. The outcome of probate litigation can significantly impact the distribution of assets, the rights of beneficiaries, and the overall resolution of the probate process. Therefore, it is crucial to seek the guidance and representation of an experienced probate litigation lawyer.

Can You Contest a Will in New Jersey?

A common type of probate litigation is a will contest. A will contest can happen when beneficiaries claim the will should be deemed invalid or certain aspects of it should be overturned by the court. In New Jersey, it is possible to contest a will before it is probated or while it is being probated. However, there are certain rules defining who can file a will contest and why. The state of New Jersey understands that any capable adult may dispose of their assets after death as they wish, regardless of what their family and friends may think. For this reason, probate courts may not allow a will contest by someone who is simply unhappy with what they received or did not receive as an inheritance.

In order to challenge a will, the party initiating the proceeding must be a current beneficiary, a beneficiary under a previous will, or a person who would have been a beneficiary and receive an inheritance under New Jersey’s intestacy laws if a will never existed. In addition, the party initiating the will challenge needs to have sufficient grounds for doing so. Examples of grounds for contesting a will include undue influence, duress, coercion, lack of mental capacity, fraud, forgery, or improper execution.

What Are the Grounds for Removing or Suing an Executor?

The executor of an estate is a person named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the court as the party responsible for managing the estate assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property to the beneficiaries according to the deceased’s wishes. However, there are situations where the executor’s conduct may be questionable or even harmful to the estate or its beneficiaries.

In New Jersey, grounds for removing or suing an executor may include embezzlement, waste or misappropriation of assets, inability or refusal to carry out duties or obey a court order, or breach of fiduciary duty. To initiate a legal action for removing an executor, interested parties must provide evidence to support their claims. They should also observe the applicable waiting periods for filing a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty as well as the statute of limitations for these types of claims.

Why Should You Hire a Probate Litigation Attorney for Your Case?

Probate litigation can be a complicated process in New Jersey, especially when multiple parties are in disagreement about aspects of their loved one’s will or when any of the parties involved in the estate administration process are not acting in alignment with their fiduciary duties. By hiring an attorney, you can leverage their legal knowledge and experience handling similar cases to help you reach a favorable outcome in your case.

The attorneys at Bratton Law Group have provided legal guidance and representation for clients dealing with probate litigation matters in Trenton, NJ, and surrounding areas. Contact us at 609-362-5692 to discuss your case.