Klenk Law

Tag: Will Contest

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.

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.

Elder Financial Scam Allegedly Left No Estate Money, Philadelphia

Posted on Wed Jul 29, 2015, on Elder Financial Scams

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: When my father became very ill two years ago, we hired a full time caretaker to help him. We live in California and my father lived in Philadelphia, so we could not be there at all times. At his death, we were shocked to find out that his will was changed and the caretaker was the executor. She says all his money was spent on medical care, but that is impossible. We are now being told we are the heirs, but there is no money. I suspect she has stolen his money. What can I do?

You have a few options. If the will has been filed and accepted by the Register, you could appeal the validity of the will to the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court.

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.

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.

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.

Executor Options for Handling a Will Challenge in Camden County, NJ

Posted on Tue Oct 7, 2014, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

Question: My brother froze my mother’s will at the Camden County Surrogate’s Office. He says he is challenging the Will. What can I do?

First, let me clarify what has happened. Your brother has filed a Caveat with the Camden County Surrogate. By filing a Caveat, any interested party can prevent the Surrogate from immediately accepting a will and giving the executor the power to control the estate assets. When a Caveat exists, any will filed is then held, and the person who filed the Caveat is notified. In theory, the person who filed the Caveat will then go to the Camden County Surrogate’s office to review the will. If they wish to challenge the will, they will then proceed. If they do not wish to challenge the will, they will withdraw the caveat.

Estate Litigation Mediation as an Alternative to Orphans’ Court Litigation

Posted on Mon Aug 25, 2014, on Estate Litigation

Normally, if a dispute regarding a Will or Trust cannot be settled between the parties, the dispute is heard by one of the Orphans’ Court Judges. These hearings can last several days, require months of preparation, may involve dozens of witnesses and experts costing the parties large sums of money. In some cases, this is the only way to settle the dispute. In other cases Mediation is a reasonable alternative to an Orphan’s Court hearing.

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