Share

Estate Litigation

A properly designed will should clearly identify all beneficiaries and leave no ambiguity surrounding the intentions of the Testator.  Unfortunately, estate planning documents, whether wills or trusts, do not always clearly reflect the intentions of the testator.  Even if the language of the documents is clear, parties may have other reasons to initiate a lawsuit or object to a will. 

These disputes can be complex and should be navigated by attorneys with experience in such matters, including an intimate knowledge of probate court rules and procedures.

In the face of a challenge to a will or to the actions of an executor or administrator, a probate court will determine whether or not a will is valid and will oversee the allocation of assets and ensure that the named executor carries out the wishes of the decedent in a lawful and timely manner. The court also oversees the distribution of assets if the testator, or deceased person, died intestate, without a valid will.

There are several scenarios under which a will may not be admitted, including but not limited to:

  • Undue influence - If the testator altered his or her will under the threat of force or other persuasion, it is said that he or she was under undue influence.
  • Mental incapacity - Similarly, if the testator is shown to have been in an incapacitated or otherwise impaired mental state at the time the will was executed, it may be considered void. 
  • Will does not follow procedure - A will may be contested if it was signed in the absence of witnesses, was not signed by the testator, or is otherwise not executed according to the law.
  • The will was revoked - If the will was revoked after it was signed, it will also be considered void.  A subsequent will, marriage, or legal action may also revoke a will.
  • Fraud - Lastly, the protesting party can contest if he or she has proof that the testator was deliberately misled by a third party. 

In instances where no valid will exists then intestacy laws which indicate what assets each family member is to receive go into effect. 

Without the guidance of an attorney experienced in estate litigation, the rules involved in the process can be overwhelming and lead to serious errors or loss of one’s rights.  Whether you are an executor, trustee, beneficiary or someone improperly left out of a will, contact us to discuss your options.



© 2020 Telsey & Telsey LLC | Disclaimer
77 Market Street, Suite 2, Salem, NJ 08079
| Phone: 856.759.4790

Municipal Court | Civil Litigation | Probate, Wills & Estates | Real Estate / Land Use | Business Law | Personal Injury | Family Law |

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative