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News & Info

What is a Will Contest?

Jun 20 2016

Written by Jason Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

The potential for a Will contest is one of the most dreaded parts of the inheritance process.  A Will contest is a lawsuit that challenges the validity of a Last Will and Testament, and it can be filed before or after the Will is admitted to probate. Will contests are commonly known to the public in cases which involve celebrity figures, such as the case of the late Anna Nicole Smith and her elderly Texas millionaire husband, Howard Marshall.  However, each state has standards to determine whether a Will is valid or not in the probate process.  It is important to know these standards as an executor, testator and beneficiary to a Will.

In New Jersey, the validity of a Will is based on the circumstances of the case.  Generally, a Will is considered to be valid.  However, persons with standing to challenge a Will include those who are plainly named in the document and those who would inherit from the testator if it was determined invalid.  A Will can be challenged in New Jersey when a testator lacked testamentary capacity, was subject to the undue influence of another in drafting their estate planning document, or their free agency was destroyed. 

This process can be extremely time consuming and vexing, for clients and attorneys alike.  If you are an executor who faces a Will contest, it is imperative to contact an experienced and well qualified estate planning attorney who can guide you through the probate process.  If you do not have a trust or estate planning lawyer near Long Beach Island, feel free to call our office for guidance with your legal concerns. 

Barnegat Attorney | Will Contest | Inheritance | Estate Planning