When a loved one passes away, one would think that taking care of taxes, paying debts and administering assets would be fairly simple and straightforward. That may be true in some New Jersey probate cases, but there are those where estate litigation is an issue which makes the administration process seem to last forever. The battle over Prince's estate is a good example of just how taxing and time-consuming estate litigation and administration can be.
Famed musician Prince died in 2016 without a will in place. A judge ultimately named the singer's brothers and sisters as his heirs. Three years have gone by since his death and the beneficiaries have yet to have any assets distributed to them. Estate litigation rages on and there seems to be no end in sight for when this estate case will come to a close. While few estate cases in New Jersey will see issues as complex as those seen in the Prince estate case, some beneficiaries may find themselves dealing with some of the same issues that Prince's heirs have found themselves struggling with.
When New Jersey residents take the time to go through the estate planning process, the hope is that their assets will be distributed to their named beneficiaries in the manner stated in their wills. One small thing can mess up those plans, however -- typos. A typo in a will can lead to estate litigation, which can end up costing beneficiaries in the end. There is an ongoing case in another state that is the perfect example of this.
When someone dies intestate -- without a will -- in the state of New Jersey, his or her estate is subject to state succession laws. This means a judge will get to decide whom to name as the executor and beneficiaries, and how assets will be divided. For some families, this works out just fine in the end. For others, this can lead to estate litigation, as conflict may arise regarding how the estate is being handled.
When a loved one dies, it is normal to want to close out his or her estate as quickly as possible and move on with life. It is not something people want to dwell on or drag out for years. Unfortunately, some individuals may take issue with the contents of their loved one's will. When that happens, estate litigation may be the only way to resolve the matter in the state of New Jersey.
New Jersey residents who have more than one child may think that naming all of their children as co-executors of their estate is a good choice. Such a decision may make one's children feel that they are all important and valued, but it can also cause a number of issues. These issues, unfortunately, may end up requiring estate litigation to resolve.
Closing out someone's estate takes time and care. Careless mistakes made by an executor can end up costing that person and the decedent's beneficiaries quite a bit of time and money. What are some of the common executor mistakes seen in New Jersey that can lead to estate litigation?
Kevin Turner had an amazing career in the National Football League. Unfortunately, because of the number of hits he took during his time playing football, he developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which caused him to experience both physical and mental impairments. Just before his death, he altered his will, cutting out his parents and children as the beneficiaries to his estate. Now, these former beneficiaries are in the midst of estate litigation, trying to get back what they feel is rightfully theirs. Those closing out an estate of a loved one in New Jersey may do the same if they are dealing with similar circumstances.
When closing out a loved one's estate in New Jersey or elsewhere proves to be a difficult and drawn-out process due to litigation, it can get expensive. When this happens, the money to cover estate litigation can come straight from the estate. Unfortunately, this means some assets may need to be sold to cover legal fees -- which can create issues as well, as seen in the Robert Indiana estate case.
Music legend James Brown died just about 12 years ago on Christmas Day in 2006. He had an estate plan in place, but this did not stop estate litigation from happening. His estate has yet to be distributed as there are unresolved issues that various members of his family keep taking to court. While most New Jersey residents do not have estates as vast as Mr. Brown's, when family members disagree with how assets should be divided, estate litigation may take some time to resolve the issues -- though hopefully not over a decade.