What Is Estate Litigation?
“When it comes to divide an estate, the politest men quarrel.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Family and Money – A Volatile Combination
It is not a shock to anyone that family and money do not always mix. Consider:
- Daughter is Power of Attorney for Mom and transfers Mom’s house to her daughter while mom is alive. The Will divides all assets equally among the three children. Did mom intend for Daughter to be the only one who got the house? Or did Daughter engage in self-help?
- Son takes elderly father to the bank, and Father re-titles all of his accounts to be joint with Son. Father has two children. When Father dies, all assets pass to Son via joint ownership. Did Father intend to disinherit Daughter?
- Aunt employs a caregiver. Caregiver lives with Aunt for four years. Nine months before Aunt’s death, she changes her Will to leave all assets to Caregiver, and exclude Nieces and Nephews. Did Aunt want to exclude the Nieces and Nephews? Did the Caregiver encourage or persuade her to change her Will? What if the Nieces and Nephews had not visited the Aunt in years?
Contesting a Will or Trust
Estate disputes are very sensitive to the underlying facts. There are only limited grounds to contest a Will or Trust. Many claims fall under “Undue Influence” or violating Fiduciary Duties. If you feel that you have a situation where you need to contest a will or trust, our estate litigation attorneys work with you to understand the facts, apply the law to those facts, and develop a Plan of Action for remedy. The remedy may involve negotiating with other parties, entering into mediation, or proceeding with an action in court to enforce your legal rights.
We represent plaintiffs and defendants, executors, trustees, and beneficiaries, and disinherited beneficiaries. The purpose of any Estate, Trust, or Fiduciary Litigation is to ensure that the decedent’s intentions are carried out.
Joe Dolan, Esq. is experienced in all aspects of Estate and Trust Litigation. He has represented Executors, Trustees, Guardians, Attorneys-In-Fact under a Power of Attorney, and other family members who believe the fiduciaries have not carried out their duties. New Jersey courts frequently appoint Joe as independent counsel in Guardianships, Will and Trust contests.
You need an attorney experienced with estate litigation to evaluate if you have a claim when you have concerns about how a person’s assets are being distributed upon their death, or before their death by somebody acting as a Trustee, Power of Attorney or other Fiduciary. There are limited time frames where you can bring a case. We recommend educating yourself sooner rather than later.
Wealth Preservation Services
Porzio’s Wealth Preservation attorneys serve New Jersey families with offices in Morristown NJ, Princeton NJ, and New York City. We provide legal counsel on Estate Planning, Elder Law, Asset Protection Planning, Special Needs Planning, Wills and Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers, Living Wills, Probate, Estate Administration, Estate and Trust Litigation, Guardianship, and Tax Planning to families in Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County and Warren County.