After losing a loved one, the desire to get through estate administration as quickly as possible is understandable. However, there are times when holding things up and really digging into that individual's estate plan is necessary and for the best. While most wills and other estate planning documents are legally valid, there are those that are questionable. In New Jersey and elsewhere, estate litigation often arises over the desire to contest a will's validity.
There is a big difference between having the desire to contest a will and having the legal grounds to do so. There are only a few reasons why the courts will allow for a will to be challenged. Proving that any of the following is an issue can be difficult:
- Testator did not understand what he or she was signing
- Testator did not know he or she was signing a will
- Testator failed to sign the will
- There were no witnesses to the signing
- Testator was the victim of undue influence
Most people want to believe that, as long as a will is in place, the contents of the document have to be honored. This is not the case. With the right evidence, a will can be proved invalid. If this happens, a judge will get to decide how an estate is to be administered.
Estate litigation over will validity can cause the estate administration process to take much longer than typically expected. While dragging the process out may not be desired, sometimes it is worth it to ensure the estate is actually divided the way the testator intended it to be. Those who believe that they have reason and sufficient evidence to contest a will in the state of New Jersey can turn to legal counsel for assistance doing so.