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will contest

Jan 03, 2019

Undue Influence Can Unwind Lifetime Gifts

The care of an elderly parent can present an existential threat to family harmony and unity even in the closest of families. Even in large families where caregiving responsibilities can ostensibly be shared equitably, it is not uncommon for one or more children to shoulder much more of the burden than the others. » Read More

Jun 04, 2018

I was Excluded as a Beneficiary, but Don’t Think it was Intended; am I out of Luck? Maybe Not!

We all know what certain words mean, particularly in the context of family.  We know who our spouse is, who our children are, and who our grandchildren are.  But sometimes it’s not that simple, and it becomes necessary to go beyond written words to determine someone’s true intention. » Read More

Mar 19, 2018

It’s Never Too Late (Sometimes) to Assert Rights as a Beneficiary

You don’t have to be a lawyer to be familiar with the concept of a “Statute of Limitations.”  In other words, legal rights must be asserted within a reasonable time frame. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

Prior blog posts (here and here) have addressed this issue in the context of estates and trusts.  » Read More

Dec 19, 2016

In Undue Influence Cases, Shifting the Burden Does Not Always Mean Winning the Case

Along with challenges to capacity, the most common theory used to invalidate a will is undue influence.  In these cases, the will challenger (the “plaintiff”) alleges that the proponent of the will (the “defendant”) exerted so much influence and control over the person making the will (the “testator”) that the defendant replaced the testator’s will with his or her own.  » Read More

Nov 14, 2016

Can I Be Cut Out Of My Spouse’s Will?

The answer to that question is the typical wholly unsatisfying response to many great legal questions- it depends.

New Jersey law provides that surviving spouses have the right to a minimum “elective share” equal to one-third of the “augmented estate.”  The augmented estate is essentially the decedent spouse’s probate estate, which includes all assets passing under the decedent’s Will, plus certain assets transferred by the decedent during lifetime in which he or she retained some type of control, or which were made within two years of death.  » Read More