If you need to engage in estate litigation, you should have some legal standing in the case. In essence, this means you stand to gain or lose something in the court system.
In the case of a will contestation, one of the most common instances of estate litigation, your name does not have to appear in the will.
A broad interpretation of interested party
Smart Asset defines contesting a will as a formal objection to the validity of a will and its terms. This typically happens during the probate process and any interested party can initiate the process. If you wish the courts to consider you an interested party, you should have a material interest in the case.
You don’t need to have a blood relation with the deceased, but you could represent a charitable organization that has due cause to question the authority of the will. You could also have a close friendship or a long-standing business relationship with the deceased. Generally, though, the following blood relations most commonly initiate estate litigation cases:
- Children or grandchildren
- Aunts and uncles
Other interested parties in probate cases include spouses and non-blood relations. An executor or guardian also might argue against the validity of a document on behalf of a child or minor.
A basis for litigation
It is important to establish the grounds for contesting a will or other estate document before bringing legal action. To do this you might need to learn more about New Jersey’s probate laws and determine the time period in which you can object to a will. Learning when you can contest a will is also a relevant step.