Will Contests in New Jersey
Created on August 23, 2016
Disputes involving wills, trusts, and intestacy in New Jersey are heard in the Chancery Division, Probate Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Under recent policy directives, such proceedings are to be settled or tried within one year, although the courts' compliance with that directive seems to vary from county to county. Regardless of the timing, however, the courts in all 21 counties follow the same procedural rules as set forth in Title 3B of the New Jersey Statutes "Administration of Estates – Decedents and Others" and Part IV, Chapter IX of the Rules Governing Civil Practice in the Superior Court, Tax Court and Surrogate's Court.
This course, led by attorney Thomas Howard, examines the various substantive issues that frequently come into play in estate litigation in the context of the procedural requirements applicable to litigation in the New Jersey Chancery Court, Probate Part.
- Define the threshold requirements for submitting a Last Will for probate, and distinguish intestacy proceedings
- Understand the requirement of standing
- Formulate objections to probate both before and after the filing of the Will, on grounds of incapacity or incompetence, forgery or fraud, undue influence or duress, ambiguity or insufficiency of language, revocation or failure to satisfy the statutory formalities
- Explore the objections that can be made to the qualifications or conduct of the executor, including breach of fiduciary duty and failure to render a timely accounting
- Examine the rights of a surviving spouse or child to demand a distribution not provided for in the Will
- Recognize the waiting periods and deadlines for filing objections or commencing proceedings
- Identify the possible effects of an in terrorem clause
- Gain insight on additional considerations before making distributions of bequests under a Will
- Consider the circumstances under which the Estate may be required to pay the attorney's fees of the person contesting the Will
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