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Sibling disputes can lead to estate litigation

Brothers and sisters do not always get along, and they do not always agree on the right way to handle various situations -- such as when a parent dies. Recently, a story was shared about how one sibling, out of three, took charge when their mother died. The decisions this one sibling is making are not sitting well with at least one of the other siblings. This kind of thing, whether it happens in New Jersey or elsewhere, may require estate litigation to resolve.

According to the story, the mother had lived with one of her daughters for three years before she was placed in hospice for pulmonary disease. When she died, the oldest sibling took charge, told the others there was no will, made plans to cremate their mother's body and began selling her assets. None of this sat well with the middle child who is insistent a will had been created years prior. Even if a will is never found, this individual believes that she should have a say in the administration of the estate. 

If there is no will, all three siblings would be considered the beneficiaries of this woman's estate. It is not up to the oldest daughter to decide who gets what, who has to pay for what and what assets are to be sold -- among other things. If a will can be located and it is deemed valid, then the estate would have to be distributed per the will instructions no matter what the oldest sibling claims their mother actually wanted. In order to stop the oldest sibling from taking any further action, the offended party would need to file a complaint in probate court. 

Estate litigation can be tough on families. No one wants to take an issue that far, but sometimes, it is the only way to ensure that a loved one's estate is administered properly. With the assistance of legal counsel, it may be possible to negotiate certain issues outside of a New Jersey probate court. Other problems, though, may require court intervention, and that is something with which legal counsel can assist as well.

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Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC

Torzewski & McInerney, LLC
60 Washington St
Suite 104
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2868
Fax: 973-359-0077
Morristown Office Location