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Contesting a Will in New Jersey

At the end of a long-lived life, a person usually has gathered many cherished assets. Often times, they want to pass down these assets to loved ones so that they can still be taken care of when their life is over. This can be accomplished with an estate plan that allows an individual to prepare for what will happen to these assets after their death. This ensures these valuable items end up in the right hands. 

Part of creating an estate plan can include writing a will. A will is a document that outlines how an individual wants their estate to be distributed when their life is over. With this plan, their assets can be passed down to those of their choosing. In order to create this plan, people need to follow the proper legal requirements. If they do not, the will is considered illegitimate and cannot be used. 

Creating a Will

In the state of New Jersey, a will must be written and signed by the individual who writes the document. During this time, there must be two witnesses present at the signing. These witnesses must attest to hearing the testator say they understand they are signing their will. They may also be obligated to sign the document themselves.

Contesting a Will

When a testator dies, their will is required to go through the process of probate. Probate is a process that determines whether or not a will is considered a valid document. There are some cases in which a beneficiary to an estate may believe that a will was not created by following the proper guidelines. In the event of this, the document can be contested. It is important to know that under probate law, a will can only be contested by a person who is mentioned in the current will or a previous will that was written.

A will may be contested for the following reasons:

  • If it was created under the influence of another party
  • If the deceased was not mentally competent when writing the will
  • If the will was not executed properly
  • If fraud or forgery took place

If the court determines that a will is invalid, it is thrown out and the document is no longer used. If another will does not exist, the deceased individual’s assets can be controlled and distributed by the state of New Jersey through a succession plan. 

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