Contested Wills in Newark, New Jersey

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Newark, NJ

It is allowed, in Newark, New Jersey, to go to court and claim that a will is invalid, in some cases. This is called a Will Contest.

Sometimes, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a considerable portion of the testator's estate (spouses and children, for example). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If there is a massive amount of money or property at stake, a family member who was left out of the will might find it to be worth the time or money to contest it.

Bringing legal action against anyone, let alone a family member, is not a decision that you should rush into. Contesting a will, especially if another family member stands to lose out if you are successful in the contest, can permanently alter or even destroy family relationships. Obviously, this is something to consider.

When Can a Will be Contested in Newark, New Jersey?

A court in Newark, New Jersey will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. However, there are some allegations which, if proven, clearly invalidate a will.

For example, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, normally physical) is invalid. Of course, duress is very difficult to prove after the fact, and the issue may not even come up until many years after it allegedly occurred, making proof even more difficult. However, if the named beneficiary was in some type of position of power or trust with respect to the decedent, and is not someone who one would normally expect to get a large gift in a will (they're unrelated to the testator, for example), those facts alone might be enough to raise the suspicion of impropriety. Of course, those facts by themselves are not enough to prove duress.

A will can also be rejected because the decedent was not mentally competent to draft it at the it was made. A court will look at the person's mental capacity at the time the will was made, so even if the testator is now perfectly sane, if he or she was incapacitated for whatever reason (by way of intoxication, for example) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.

If you successfully contest the will in Newark, New Jersey, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that normally happen during a person's life. Normally, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.

Can a Newark, New Jersey Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve convoluted legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Newark, New Jersey attorney can be invaluable in helping this process go as smoothly as possible.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Newark

Newark is a massive city. To give you an idea how massive, "The Brick City" is the largest in all of New Jersey and at a short distance of 8 miles from Manhattan, it's an ideal place for many New York professionals to call home. Port Newark is on Newark Bay along the Atlantic Ocean and is the largest port on the East Coast. The Port of Newark offers the most rail facilities, biggest cranes, and wide deep docking. It serves as the location for shipping nearly all New York containers. Newark's skyline shows what industrious city it is. Newark is home to the headquarters of Prudential Financial, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, New Jersey Transit, and the Public Service Enterprise Group PSEG are headquartered in downtown Newark.

Newark plays host to some of the nation's best universities and schools. The New Jersey Institute of Technology has educated NASA aerospace engineers to National Technical Medal of Technology winners. Rutgers University is located in Newark and has been consistently voted as one of the top business and graduate school in the United States. The city and local colleges draw outstanding talent for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center that is just adjacent to Military Park, a 6 acre green space with the well known "Wars of America" statue on display. You may also remember Brick City which was aired as a five part documentary on the Sundance Channel in 2009. The second installment comes in 2011. The documentary revolved around Newark's leaps and bounds to improve the safety and corruption of the past.

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