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Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC

When a beneficiary change can lead to estate litigation

Your dad discussed his estate plan with you awhile back so that you would know what to expect upon his death. Well, the time came, you father died, and you got a big surprise. At the last minute, he changed his beneficiaries. Now you are left wondering why and what you can do about it. In New Jersey and elsewhere, a last-minute beneficiary change can lead to estate litigation if those affected feel something is not above board.

Before delving into this topic, a person does have the right to make a beneficiary change whenever he or she likes. It is when it happens under odd or suspicious circumstances that it may not be okay. Of course, proving such a thing can be rather difficult.

It is not uncommon for people to change their estate plans or beneficiary listings due to undue influence. This means that one was talked into it by another person -- usually someone who is trying to gain financially from the change. Such alterations to an estate plan are generally done in private, and those affected typically do not find out until the estate goes through probate.

Those who are closing out a loved one's estate in New Jersey and who have concerns about how an estate has been written or changed do not have to stand by and let it be administered as such. Through estate litigation, it may be possible to change how an estate is ultimately distributed if you can prove your claims in court. To learn how an attorney can help you in your cause, please visit our firm's website.

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