A person’s death can result in conflicts between survivors over the instructions for asset distribution given in wills and trusts. At Freireich, L.L.C., based in Florham Park, I advise listed and potential beneficiaries as well as estate representatives and trustees in the greater New Jersey area. My firm brings and defends against challenges to the validity of wills and trusts based on allegations of incapacity and undue influence. My extensive experience in probate and trust litigation allows me to deliver highly knowledgeable representation to clients involved in disputes where the true intentions of the testator or trust creator are questioned.
Lack of testamentary capacity alleges that a person was not of sound mind when they made their will or trust. If it can be proven that an individual was not mentally competent at the time of creation, the probate court may determine that the will or trust is invalid. Proving lack of capacity requires showing that the person did not have a full understanding of the nature of the legal instrument, why they were making one, the assets and property being allocated or even who their likely beneficiaries were. If you need help contesting a will or trust on these grounds, I will advocate on your behalf.
Wills and trusts are sometimes contested on the ground of undue influence, which means that another person applied mental, moral or physical exertion to influence the contents of the will or trust to their own benefit. Often, the person accused is someone the decedent trusted or who was in a position of power over them. Undue influence is not easily proven and requires an element of coercion as opposed to mere lobbying for a certain result. However, if you suspect that a will or trust provision reflects undue influence, I will investigate the facts involved to determine if the evidence exists to support your claim.
If you are being accused of exerting undue influence over the creator of a will or trust, I will use every resource at my disposal to prove that the individual acted of their own free will while creating and signing their legal instrument.
Not just anyone can contest a decedent’s will or trust. The person challenging the document must have legal standing to do so. Generally, beneficiaries named in a will or trust have standing to challenge it. Individuals who were named in a previous will by the decedent but are not named in the current one can also have standing. Likewise, a someone who has been denied assets that they believe were redirected by a faulty trust could also be given the legal right to make their case in court. If you are disputing a will or a trust, I can help you determine if you are able to formally contest it.
At Freireich, L.L.C. in Florham Park, I represent New Jersey clients on both sides of challenges to wills and trusts based on claims of undue influence or lack of capacity. Call me at (973) 845-2050 or contact me online to schedule an initial consultation.