Common Disputes Leading to Estate Litigation

Common Disputes Leading to Estate Litigation


If a person creates a Last Will and Testament in order to distribute assets and property following his or her death, that person likely thinks that there will be no challenges to the will in the probate process. However, because probate is a public legal proceeding, anyone who may have an interest or possible chance at receiving any of the assets from a decedent’s estate may take the opportunity to file a claim against the estate in probate court. The most common disputes that ultimately lead to estate litigation are listed below.

Second Marriages

If you have remarried, you should immediately consider updating all of your estate planning documents, including your Last Will and Testament. In many cases, a second marriage can mean that you would want your property and assets distributed differently. Additionally, if there are minor children involved, you should absolutely consider how your estate plan will affect any possible inheritances you would want to bestow upon them. If you fail to update all of your estate planning documents, then the probate court will have no choice but to honor the original documents, which means that all of your assets and property will go to your previous wife. In some cases, even if you have updated your Last Will and Testament, a previous spouse may feel frustrated or hurt and still attempt to file a claim against your estate in the probate process. Make sure that you speak with your current spouse and any beneficiaries and heirs you plan to give assets or property to so that they are all clear on what they will receive following your death. Additionally, you should consider registering your Last Will and Testament with the state of New Jersey so that the state has a copy on file.


Undue Influence/Coercion

In some cases, beneficiaries feel that they should have received more from the decedent. In these cases, they may have a legitimate concern that the decedent was unduly influenced or coerced in some way by another party prior to their death and influenced to change their estate planning documents. This may occur in nursing homes with unscrupulous nursing home employees, or in any situation in which a person begins to have influence or an opportunity to manipulate an elderly person. This type of fraud can be prosecuted and litigated by the family of the deceased.

Contact an Experienced Estate Attorney Today

If you believe that you have a valid claim and need to file your dispute against a decedent’s estate, our experienced attorneys can help you in this matter. If you are drafting your estate planning documents, we can help ensure that your Last Will and Testament is executed in such a way as to prevent frivolous or invalid claims against your estate in probate. Contact our legal team at Giro Law at 201-690-1642.



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