When working through your loved one's estate, you found something concerning to you. At the last minute, it appears a beneficiary change was made. This has you questioning the validity of the estate plan as a whole. In New Jersey, to deal with this type of situation, estate litigation may be necessary.
Losing a beloved family member or friend is difficult for anyone. If this recently happened to you, it is okay to be struggling as you now try to figure out how to navigate the estate administration process in the state of New Jersey. This is not an easy thing to get through, especially if the decedent failed to put together an estate plan, failed to name an executor or named an executor that you think is unfit for the job.
Fights over parental estates happen. In fact, this is becoming pretty common in New Jersey and elsewhere. There are things parents can do when preparing their estate plans to help their children avoid going through estate litigation. There are also things siblings can do to prevent drama and get through the estate administration process as quickly and pain-free as possible.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult, and it doesn't always bring out the best in people. If you recently lost a loved one and have concerns about the state of his or her estate and how it is being handled, you do not have to sit by and let whatever is going to happen, happen. You may be able to do something about it so that you can make sure the estate is administered, not only per New Jersey law but also the way your loved one wanted.
Many married couples in New Jersey and elsewhere jointly own all of their assets. This means that if one spouse dies, the other will retain total control of the property. If this is how it works, it is understandable that the surviving spouse would want to know if he or she has to go through the probate process in order to officially close out the estate.
When a loved one dies, there is hope that the estate administration process will be completed quickly and without issue. Unfortunately, many in New Jersey and elsewhere find that this is not the case. The Stuart Scott estate litigation case is a prime example of this.
Siblings do not always get along. Fighting and disagreements are normal in sibling relationships. Unfortunately, some sibling relationships are worse off than others. When parents pass away, sibling rivalry may affect estate administration. In New Jersey and elsewhere, estate litigation may be the only way to resolve any disputes that arise if this is the case.
In New Jersey, as in other states, when someone dies, his or her creditors have the right to be notified. They also have the right to make claims against the estate in an effort to collect what is owed to them. Creditors only have a short window to file their claims, but in that time, they can do a lot of damage. For instance, liens may be placed on property, such as a house, preventing beneficiaries from doing anything with it until the lien is dismissed or paid. Fights with creditors can, of course, lead to estate litigation, which can take time to resolve fully.
Too many people in New Jersey and elsewhere do not have wills or proper estate plans in place. Those who do may not have their estate planning documents stored in locations that are accessible to all concerned parties. An individual in another state recently shared a story of how a hidden will resulted in the loss of his or her inheritance. Now this person and his or her siblings are wondering what can be done about it. Through estate litigation, it may be possible for these family members to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs.
Working through the estate administration process, whether in New Jersey or elsewhere, can be challenging in many ways. This is particularly true if there are concerns that undue influence was behind a loved one's estate planning decisions. When this is suspected, estate litigation may be unavoidable.