Estate Litigation in New Jersey
Thoughtful estate planning can prevent many inheritance-related disputes; however, issues may arise during the estate administration process that require intervention to be resolved. In these situations, the attorneys at Smith & Doran are prepared to handle probate, trust, and estate litigation. We understand that contested estate matters aggravate the stress and despair of losing a loved one. Therefore, we litigate with compassion and sensitivity, while never sacrificing our clients’ rights and interests.
Types of Estate Litigation
One goal of probate is to provide an orderly method for estate administration. In reality, however, the settlement process is rarely seamless, and sometimes animosity can lead to disputes. For example, allegations of elder abuse often go hand-in-hand with will and trust contests, making proceedings highly emotional for everyone involved.
In addition to will and trust contests and elder abuse, estate litigation may involve many other issues, including but not limited to:
- Lack of capacity related to dementia, psychosis, or irrational conduct
- Breach of fiduciary duties by an estate executor or trust administrator
- Removal of a trustee, power of attorney, conservator, or guardian
- Accounting disputes
- Creditor claims
- Interpretation of trust provisions
- Demands for trustee surcharge
- Disputes of community property or quasi-community property rights
- Recovery of assets and title disputes
Unfortunately, situations in which an estate executor, trustee, or power of attorney has not been fair or honest when handling assets are all too common. In such circumstances, heirs and/or beneficiaries can seek relief based on breach of fiduciary duty. Because we regularly assist clients with creating wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents and devices, we are especially well-qualified to handle litigation involving these issues.
Estate Litigation involving Creditor Claims
Sometimes in the process of settling an estate, a creditor makes a claim against the estate (generally for money owed) that the executor or administrator does not agree with. If the administrator denies the claim, the creditor can petition the court for payment, which results in estate litigation. We can help if you are administering an estate and a creditor makes an arguable claim, or if a creditor has filed a petition with the court.
Contact Smith & Doran if You Face Estate Litigation
If you are involved in an estate administration dispute that could be headed toward litigation, do not hesitate to contact Smith & Doran to speak with an experienced New Jersey estate litigation attorney. We are exceptionally qualified to handle estate litigation based on our knowledge of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and probate procedure.