When the circumstances dictate, we represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries before the courts during litigation including:
A will may be challenged in four general ways:
- Noncompliance with Formalities: A will may be challenged because it was not properly executed in accordance with the New Jersey law.
- Lack of Capacity: A will may be challenged because the testator did not have the sufficient mental capacity to understand what he or she was signing.
- Undue Influence: A will may be challenged because the testator was coerced or threatened into signing the will against his or her free will, usually by a family member or close friend. A will that is the product of undue influence typically deviates from a long standing testamentary plan.
- Fraud & Mistake: A will may be challenged when the testator executed a will as a result of a fraud or mistake.
Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Deeds and Beneficiary Designations may also be challenged on these same grounds.
BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY & BENEFICIARY RIGHTS
An Executor of an estate or a Trustee of a trust, may be sued for any of the following actions:
- Failure to follow the terms of the Will or Trust
- Failure to follow New Jersey Statute and/or Code
- Improper Investing
New Jersey law provides that a surviving spouse is entitled to at least one-third of the deceased spouse’s augmented estate, including probate and non-probate assets. A surviving spouse who has not been provided for in accordance with the minimum amount set forth in the Elective Share statute may challenge the will.
ABUSE OF A POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney (POA) empowers an agent to act on behalf of a principal. The principal, or the person making the POA, gives the agent, also known as the attorney-in-fact, the power over the principal’s financial affairs. The agent or attorney-in-fact is usually not a lawyer but rather a family member or close friend.
With the granting of power over another’s affairs comes the potential for abuse of that power through embezzlement, self-dealing, excessive gifting, beneficiary designation manipulation and account renaming.
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