In estate planning, it is common that parents divide the inheritance equally among the children.…
People go through their lives believing that they will have a place in a loved one’s will, but if it turns out that they were not named in the will, this can be surprising and hurtful. The reason that this happened may have been because someone coerced the family member to leave someone out of the will, or the person was of diminished capacity, so he was unaware of what he was doing. In order to make either of these assertions, you will need to contest the will.
The importance of having a will cannot be understated. The following case will serve as an example of the reasons why:
A woman by the name of “Melita Jackson” died in 2006. She had a daughter with her husband, but the husband died in an accident. When the daughter married in 1983, Ms. Jackson wasn’t happy about it and decided to leave her daughter out of her will. Instead, she left all of her money to the RSPCA, the RSPB and Blue Cross. Her daughter had been a stay-at-home mother to five children since 1984. She and her husband mainly supported their family with government aid, and they do not own a home. The daughter contested her mother’s will so that she could receive support from her mother’s estate.
In 2007, the daughter received a portion of her mother’s estate, but the case is back in the news again because the court decided to increase the amount to one-third of the estate. This case is being called a “landmark case” because it interferes with a person’s right to do what she wants with her money.
What Does this Mean?
This case means that if the deceased left a relative out of his or her will, the court is going to be sympathetic to the wishes of the relatives. If the court finds that the relative should not have been excluded, the court is likely to allow the relative to inherit.
If you have been left out of a will, you would need to contest it. In today’s climate, it may be very likely that you could prevail in court, but you must consider this very carefully. Most likely, you are not going to be able to contest a will if you were not a family member.
If the deceased told you that he was going to put you in his will, write down everything you can remember about that conversation. Then, estimate how much money you believe the deceased meant to leave you. Come up with a high and a low estimate. If this amount isn’t enough to pay a will attorney in Fairfield NJ for a consultation, don’t pursue it.
The amount may be double the amount you would need to pay to consult with a Fairfield NJ will lawyer, but at the end, it may cost you much more than that. Fights that people have had over estates have cost more in legal fees than they received in an inheritance.
Contesting a Will
If you are choosing to contest the will, you will need to start by hiring a Fairfield NJ will attorney. You will need a Fairfield NJ estate planning lawyer to help you get a copy of the will. Then, you can explain the reasons why you want to contest the will to your estate planning attorney in Fairfield NJ.
Everyone has the right to decide where they want their money to go, but if your will attorney in Fairfield NJ says that you have grounds to contest the will, you might be able to win your case. If you were left out of a will and are prepared to contest it, contact us at the Law Offices of Faloni & Associates, and we will file a contest against the will.