Learn the Signs of When to File a Will Contest Probate Lawsuit

Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Will Contest Probate Litigation Attorney

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Probate Litigation And Estate Disputes Are Tough!!!

There are generally signs you should be aware of before the need to file a probate lawsuit. They may be subtle but still obvious to the informed.  If you begin to identify any of these signs or perceive yourself to be at risk, then you will need to contact me to discuss your concerns. Time is not your friend!

You can reach me toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or you can email me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.

I’m really easy to talk to and genuinely interested in your matter.  I welcome your inquiry.

Probate Litigation – Signs That Should Scream Out to You

So What Are the Signs You’re Talking About?

The Signs That Should “Scream” Out to You to Act Now

  • DO YOU HAVE CONCERNS OR PROOF THAT THE DECEASED PERSON DID NOT HAVE LEGAL CAPACITY WHEN HE OR SHE SIGNED THEIR WILL, TRUST OR POWER OF ATTORNEY? If you keep reading my site you’ll notice I’ve written extensively about the topics of legal competency and undue influence. These are the claims most frequently filed in a probate estate litigation case. While suspicion(s) is not evidence, it is a good first step in evaluating a case. If you have the medical records, a personal relationship and other corroborative proof that a decedent/trust maker lacked mental competency, give me a call. Let’s explore whether there is a case to be made.
  • WAS A WILL OR TRUST CHANGED SUDDENLY AFTER MANY YEARS? Our firm has litigated many probate cases and settled more. One of the first questions I ask a prospective client is for a chronology of events leading up to the signature of the document, if known. Then I ask to see the contents of the Last Will/Trust including all prior wills/trusts (if available). The answers to these questions and review of the documents often tells me more than you can imagine because unusual and material changes to estate planning documents, especially near death (often) suggests someone has/is doing someone else dirty, meaning, excluding/reducing them from the estate. If i’m speaking to you in this example, call me as soon as convenient to meet and discuss your case.
  • DID THE DECEASED PERSON HAVE DEMENTIA, ALZHEIMER’S OR OTHER COGNITIVE CONDITION(S) WHEN HE OR SHE SIGNED THEIR WILL, TRUST OR POWER OF ATTORNEY OR CHANGED ANY OF THESE DOCUMENTS? Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions change the physical and mental health of a person. Cognitive declines are the most frequent conditions I address when new clients connect with me. They are so prevalent I wrote a dedicated website just to address these conditions ( CLICK HERE to read the site). If you believe that these diseases were influential in causing a loved one to change their estate plan to your detriment, give me a call. Let’s see if the evidence and the facts support your believe.
  • DO YOU HAVE A REASONABLE BASIS TO SUSPECT THE EXERCISE OF UNDUE INFLUENCE OVER THE DECEASED PERSON LEADING UP TO THE SIGNATURE OF A WILL, TRUST OR POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA)? The subject of Undue Influence and Estate Probate Litigation is so prominent that I have devoted an entire page on this website to it. Check out the Table of Contents found on the left side of this page and click on the page. You’ll get all the important information you need on the subject and when you’re done, call me and let’s sit down and discuss your case.
  • IS THERE A SECOND MARRIAGE AND HAVE THE CHILDREN OF FIRST MARRIAGe BEEN DISINHERITED? The power of the pillow. Oh how I’ve seen the influence(s) of a second spouse and the tragedies resulting to the children and family members of a now deceased parent. Decades of a close relationship between a divorced/widowed parent and their child(ren) shattered by the domination of a new spouse and the weakened mental and/or physical health of the parent. Just because a person was married to a spouse does not exempt the second surviving spouse from claims of undue influence, fraud and tortuous interference with an inheritance. Then again, many second spouses are (and were) loving and devoted to their husband/wife regardless of the length of time the marriage lasted before death. The decedent knowingly and purposefully chose their spouse over their child(ren) and family. Tragic, sad and hurtful as it may be, it may be entirely legal. There is no legal entitlement to an inheritance. Let’s review the facts and relationships to see if a case exists…or for that matter, a defense against a family member (child) who didn’t give mom or dad the time of day…until they were dead.
  • IS THE EXECUTOR BEING SECRETIVE, NOT RETURNING YOUR CALLS OR EMAILS?  ARE YOU BEING IGNORED, DISRESPECTED AND MARGINALIZED? Not hearing from the Executor/Administrator is never a good sign. Something’s up. While the law allows an estate representative time to take charge of the estate, if a copy of the Will or Trust or notice of probate is not given to you within a reasonable period of time following a death, you need to act or nothing will happen. There is no central registry where Wills or Trusts are filed as a public record before death, therefore it is up to you to find out if someone is being inattentive or outright hiding the Will, Trust and/or Estate Assets. The same advice applies to beneficiaries who have been contacted by the estate representative but since the initial contact he/she has gone “dark”.
    You have rights to be informed and an accounting(s) provided. Don’t let an arrogant and/or negligent fiduciary of the estate/trust disrespect you. Asset your rights.

Is the Executor Being Secretive

  • IS THERE A BENEFICIARY MAKING UNREASONABLE DEMANDS AND/OR MAKING FALSE AND UNJUSTIFIABLE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST YOU AS THE ESTATE REPRESENTATIVE, OR THREATENING TO SUE YOU INDIVIDUALLY AS EXECUTOR, ADMINISTRATOR OR BENEFICIARY OF THE ESTATE? 

    The Beneficiary From Hell

    I call the individual(s) described in the caption above as the “beneficiary(ies) from hell” and I (somewhat) mean it. It seems no matter how hard you try to make him or her happy, how many times you address their questions, it’s just not enough. Their expectations are unreasonable, their timeline/deadlines for action unrealistic, and then they make all kinds of legal threats against you including; financial liability, discharge from your position or criminal charges. You know what? Don’t take it! You have the right to control the estate, not them. It was you selected by the decedent or trust creator because they respected you to do what is right and honest, not them. Let me help you deal with your “beneficiary from hell”. Together we’ll navigate between the law and their legitimate rights and yes…their threats.

  • DID THE PERSON ACTING AS POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA) MISUSE MONEY WRONGFULLY; WAS THERE THEFT FROM THE PARENT? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been called about the horrors of a dishonest Power of Attorney (POA). Whether by manipulation, deception, undue influence, or lawful and legitimate means the holder of the power goes rogue and/or blurs the lines between his responsibility to act in the best interest of his principal and his/her private economic interest. It gets really dangerous when small checks become big checks, when individual bank accounts become joint bank accounts, when beneficiary designations are changed when it’s thought no one’s looking or no one will find out. Even after death, it is learned that a previously trusted child, friend or family member was stealing when his/her parent or sick family member/neighbor was innocently relying upon them. All I can say is you better act now as part of the Estate/Trust proceeding(s) and bring legal action against that rogue POA, guardian, etc. Time is not your ally. The money will vanish!
  • HAS THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE (POA, EXECUTOR, TRUSTEE) OF THE ESTATE FAILED IN THEIR FIDUCIARY OBLIGATION TO THE BENEFICIARIES AND CREDITORS OF THE ESTATE? The law imposes defined obligations upon an Estate and Trust representative. Failure to abide by the terms of the Last Will or Trust and/or disrespect your fiduciary standards (meaning ethical and legal responsibilities to those you serve) can cause you to be discharged from your role by a court and held personally liable to those who are/were economically injured by your actions. There is no single check list you can follow to know if your meeting your expressed/implied standards of conduct and service, but you can reach out to me if you feel an independent analysis is warranted. I’ll tell you like it is and if you’re off course, I’ll set you straight. Don’t run the risk of being sued! I’m just a phone call or email away.

TESTIMONIALS

Prior to her death in 2008, I was my Mom’s Power of Attorney.   She moved to North Carolina to live out her final years with me and my family.   Previously, she had lived her entire life in New Jersey.

After her death, property in New Jersey left to me and my siblings, was supposed to be sold and divided among us but unfortunately an unhappy sibling refused to cooperate.

After researching attorneys in New Jersey, I hired Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. to represent my interests.   I am glad that I did.   His office was terrific and advocated forcibly and professionally on my behalf.   We were kept informed throughout the entirety of the case and the quality of the work was excellent.   While stressful at times, the legal dispute was successfully resolved, the case against me dismissed and I was able to cause the property to be sold and the proceeds distributed.

Mr. Niemann and his very capable associates and paraprofessionals did a very competent and thorough job and I recommend them to all who are reading this testimonial.

– Craig and Lisa Rose – Beaufort, North Carolina

Understanding the Ins and Outs of an Estate Accounting

  • IS THE EXECUTOR, TRUSTEE OR POA REFUSING TO GIVE AN ACCOUNTING? WERE PROMISES MADE BY DECEDENT NOT KEPT UNDER THEIR WILL OR TRUST? You’ve been patiently waiting for the estate representative to provide you with a breakdown of all pre-death and after death assets, income and expenses. They keep delaying and/or refuse to give you what you ask for and what you are entitled to receive. The law mandates that a person with an interest in the estate/trust can demand an accounting from the authorized representative of the estate/trust. Refuse and there are consequences. Call me today and let’s get you the information you deserve.
Fred Niemann, Probate Dispute Attorney in NJ

Fred Niemann, Probate Dispute Attorney in NJ

Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. Hanlon Niemann & Wright has years of estate and probate litigation experience. He and members of his firm are experienced trial lawyers.  We know the probate court and how to represent your interests.

To speak with Fred call him toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com

to set up an office consultation at your convenience to discuss your particular needs.  He welcomes your calls and inquiries and you’ll find him easy to talk to and very approachable.

Probate Law and Estate Administration lawyers serving these New Jersey Counties:

Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Camden
County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Bergen County, Morris County,
Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County