Estate administration is a complex, stressful process for many people. The last thing you want to do after losing a loved one is fight with family members or other potential heirs about money and other assets. However, these types of disputes are relatively common and can lead to litigation.
At Bratton Law Group, we have an estate litigation team standing by to provide the guidance, support, and representation you need to help you through this complicated and stressful time. An estate litigation attorney in Ewing can explain the nuanced laws and statutes that outline the New Jersey probate and estate administration process, and help you understand how they apply in your case. At the same time, we will offer resources and support to make the entire process less stressful.
To learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation, call us today at (856) 857-6007.
When Do I Need an Estate Litigation Attorney in Ewing?
Most estate administration goes smoothly, and all the parties involved work together to ensure everything goes according to their loved one’s final wishes. When there is a disagreement, however, these disputes can quickly lead to family in-fighting, a breakdown in communication, and even litigation.
If a serious dispute arises during the administration of your loved one’s estate, you should consider enlisting the help of an estate litigation attorney. We can offer advice, guide you through some methods of reaching an agreement, and provide legal representation in court if necessary.
Having a well-qualified lawyer on your side in this type of dispute is especially important if you are the administrator of the estate or executor of the will, but we also frequently help trustees, guardians, heirs, and others who find themselves in the middle of an estate dispute. Our compassionate estate litigation team knows how difficult it can be to face legal and financial challenges so soon after the loss of a beloved family member and treat each client with understanding and empathy.
What Commonly Causes Ewing Estate Disputes?
There is no single cause of estate disputes. Instead, a combination of factors can play a role. Some of the most common situations we see with our clients include:
Many estate disputes arise in a situation where there is no valid will. Having a valid will in place greatly reduces the chances of a dispute between family members, and almost eliminates the possibility of litigation.
If there is not a valid will created and signed based on applicable state laws, it is much more difficult to ensure the fair distribution of assets. Instead, family members and other potential heirs battle for control of the estate and any proceeds left over after paying final bills.
Most wills today are self-proving, meaning they do not require any effort on the part of the Surrogate to ensure they are valid. The Surrogate simply needs to sign off that he saw the signature of the deceased, signatures of two or more witnesses, and a notary’s stamp. Still, family members may dispute the validity of a will. Often, these disputes involve other issues, such as lack of capacity or undue influence.
Lack of Capacity
If a family member alleges a lack of capacity, this is an attempt to undermine the validity of a will. This occurs when family members believe their loved one could not understand what he was doing at the time he created the will, usually due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another medical concern.
Undue influence is another way to undermine the validity of a will or other estate plan. This occurs when one heir or a group of heirs had particular power or influence over the deceased, and used this to their financial advantage. This usually causes one family member or group of beneficiaries to receive a much more significant portion of assets than the rest. While this can occur without undue influence, this type of manipulation is not uncommon.
Arguments Against the Executor or Administrator
Some beneficiaries run into issues with the executor of the will or administrator of the estate, and challenge that person’s authority or ability to do the assigned tasks. This might stem from a long-held grudge or missteps and mistakes that lead to a breakdown in communication and trust.
If you are the executor or administrator the beneficiaries are accusing of inappropriate conduct or other unethical behavior, you need an estate litigation attorney to protect your rights and reputation.
How Can a New Jersey Estate Litigation Lawyer Help Me?
In addition to dispute prevention and negotiations, we represent clients during court hearings and other steps in the litigation process. We can ensure the protection of your rights and fight for the full value of the inheritance you deserve based on your loved one’s will.
In addition, we provide a full menu of other estate administration and litigation services to help make the entire process go more smoothly. Some of our most popular services include:
- Interpretation and analyzation of wills, trusts, and other legal documents
- Guidance for navigating estate administration or will executor duties
- Support for undue influence and lack of capacity claims
- Investigation into the validity of wills or other estate documents
- Resource help with the valuation of assets, payment of debts, and estate taxes
- Help with estate accounting
- Filing to remove an unfit executor or administrator
- Defending against an unfit executor or administrator claims
If you have any questions about New Jersey estate administration or worry you may face litigation because of an estate dispute in Ewing, give us a call. We can help you better understand your situation, guide you through any number of possible solutions, and help put your mind at ease.
Schedule a Consultation with a Knowledgeable Ewing Estate Litigation Attorney
Estate litigation is confusing and often upsetting. Do not try to handle it yourself. Call Bratton Law Group today at (856) 857-6007 to set up an appointment with members of our estate litigation team.