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Category: Will Contests and Will Challenges

What if I think my brother used undue influence to change my father’s will?

Posted on Thu Oct 15, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My brother used undue influence on my father — who suffered from Alzheimer’s — to change his will. I have filed a will contest in Camden County. My brother’s attorney is not doing any work, as he says the burden is on me. Is he correct?

When you are the challenger in a will contest the initial burden of proof is on you to show that the will was created under undue influence. An experienced will contest lawyer can explain this burden to you, as it is a bit too complex for a blog post.

How long do I have to challenge my Dad’s will in Delco?

Posted on Mon Sep 14, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father, a resident of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, died of dementia 12 years ago. Shortly before he died, his will was changed giving everything to my cousin. We believed that my father died broke, but now that my cousin died, we found out that he had a joint account with her containing a large sum of money. The prior will states that I would receive ¼ of his estate. Can I challenge the will?

First, a will challenge case alone based on incapacity or undue influence, even if successful, would not help you. You stated that the funds were in a joint account. A joint account passes outside of probate, meaning the will has no effect on the joint ownership. To be successful, you would first have to prove that the joint account was created improperly-perhaps under undue influence or forgery-so that the assets would pour into the estate. Then you would have to prove that the existing will was invalid.

What is the time limit to contest a will in New Jersey?

Posted on Mon Aug 17, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My brother has filed a will with the Surrogate that I believe is not my mother’s will. I want to contest the will, but how long do I have to file the will challenge?

Once the will is filed and accepted by the Surrogate, to challenge the will you must have a complaint filed in the proper format with the New Jersey Superior Court Clerk. If you are a New Jersey resident, you only have four months to file the complaint. if you live outside New Jersey, you have six months.

Montgomery County Will Contest “Standing” – A Key Factor in Litigation

Posted on Fri Jul 24, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My neighbor promised to give me her Montgomery County house in her will. She died recently and her son, who did not talk to her for 10 years, has filed a will from the 1970s that leaves him everything. Can I challenge that will?

If I understand the facts correctly, your neighbor died and—to the best of your knowledge, her most recent Will was the one her Son filed with the Montgomery County Register of Wills. That Will is very old, but as far as you know, is the most recent Will she signed. Though she verbally promised to give you the house in Montgomery County, she failed to write a new Will.

When can I challenge a forged will in Montgomery County?

Posted on Fri Jul 17, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My partner said that he was going to leave me money in his will. But, at his death, a distant cousin of his filed a will and obtained letters with the Montgomery County Register of Wills that gave everything to that cousin. I think the will is a forgery. Is there a statute of limitations period for me to challenge the will?

Yes. If you had acted before the will was filed, you could have had your Montgomery Probate Attorney file a caveat with the Montgomery County Register of Wills. Doing this would have prevented the distant relative from obtaining Letters Testamentary until you had the chance to review the will. Also, this would have given you more time to decide if you were going to contest the will.

Who Can Challenge a Will in Bucks County?

Posted on Wed Jul 8, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My grandfather, a resident of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, died of dementia 12 years ago. Shortly before his death, his will was changed, giving everything to my aunt. We believed that my grandfather died broke, but now that my aunt died, we found out that he had a joint account with her containing a large sum of money. The prior will states that I would receive a portion of his estate. Can I challenge the will?

First, a will challenge case alone based on incapacity or undue influence, even if successful, would not help you. You stated that the funds were in a joint account. A joint account passes outside of probate, meaning the will has no effect on the joint ownership. To be successful, you would first have to prove that the joint account was created improperly—perhaps under undue influence or forgery—so that the assets would pour into the estate.

How long do I have to challenge a will that I think has been forged?

Posted on Wed Jul 1, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My neighbor said that she was going to leave me money in her will. However, after my neighbor’s death, a distant relative of hers filed a will with the Philadelphia County Register of Wills that gave everything to that relative. I think that will is a forgery. Is there a statute of limitations period for me to challenge the will?

Yes. If you had acted before the will was filed, you could have had your Philadelphia Probate Attorney file a caveat with the Philadelphia Register of Wills. Doing this would have prevented the distant relative from obtaining Letters Testamentary until you had the chance to review the will and decide if you were going to contest the will.

Lehigh County Will Contest, An Introduction.

Posted on Wed Jul 1, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: After reading the information on your site, I believe my brother used undue influence to get my father to change his will. If I decide to challenge the will, where will the trial be held? How long will the process take?

Where you live, will contests are heard by the judges in the Lehigh County Orphans’ Court, located in Allentown. In many cases, will contest challenges settle before a trial. If the case settles, the parties could agree to terms in a matter of weeks. We’ve even seen family members settle challenges on the courthouse steps minutes before trial.

How do I challenge a will that doesn’t give something promised to me?

Posted on Thu Jun 18, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My neighbor promised to give me her Philadelphia house in her will. She died recently and her son, who did not talk to her for 10 years, has filed a Will from the 1970s that gives him everything. Can I challenge that will?

If I understand the facts correctly, your neighbor died and — to the best of your knowledge — her most recent will was the one her son filed with the Philadelphia Register of Wills. That will is very old, but — again, as far as you know — is the most recent Will she signed. Though she verbally promised to give you the house in Philadelphia, she failed to write a new will that backs up your claim.

Philadelphia Will Challenges; a Short Introduction

Posted on Tue Jun 9, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My grandfather, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died of dementia 12 years ago. Shortly before his death, his will was changed, giving everything to my aunt. We believed that my grandfather died broke. However, now that my aunt died, we found out that he had a joint account with her containing a large sum of money. The prior will states that I would receive one-fourth of his estate. Can I challenge the will?

First, a will challenge case alone based on incapacity or undue influence, even if successful, would not help you. You stated that the funds were in a joint account. A joint account passes outside of probate, meaning the will has no effect on the joint ownership.

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