When someone passes away, their estate will be distributed as requested in their Last Will and Testament. Unfortunately, estate disputes are common, and grieving family members are left arguing and fighting with one another over money, assets, and more. We’ve all seen this cliché play out in movies, but when it happens in real life, it’s painful and adds stress to everyone involved.
With that said, our team of NJ estate litigation lawyers have put together a list of four common causes for estate disputes. If you’re in need of legal guidance and representation during an estate distribution, we’re happy to discuss your options.
Here are some common causes of estate litigation
- Disagreements over beneficiary designations. If someone has been designated as a beneficiary of a particular asset or a certain sum of money, it will be transferred to them upon the person’s passing. But sometimes, beneficiaries are disputed if the other parties involved believe there has been misconduct. If there were significant changes made to the decedent’s will near the end of their life, their state of mind may also be called into question.
- Disagreements over unequal distribution of property. The decedent’s home and any other real estate they own will be listed in their will, alongside a beneficiary. However, disagreements often arise when other parties involved learn that the decedent gave away one of their properties while still alive, or if the decedent’s competency is called into question in any way.
- Compensation for services. Estate trustees are entitled to compensation for their work, but if they fail to execute the trust as directed or if the family have any doubts, they can call the compensation into question. This can be a tricky issue to navigate and we recommend seeking guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney on how to proceed.
- Disagreements over executor duties. The executor is the person who oversees the administration of the decedent’s estate, who is chosen by the decedent. Disputes between an executor and the decedent’s family are quite common. Some of these issues include the executor taking too long to distribute the estate, exhibiting unsound judgment, not distributing the estate as the decedent intended or selling assets for less than market value without permission from the beneficiaries.
For more information about your rights during an estate litigation, or if you have any legal questions regarding a Last Will and Testament, please contact our team at SCC Legal today. Discover why we’ve become trusted estate litigation lawyers for so many residents in New Jersey.