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Moorestown NJ Will Contest Attorney

Navigating the Complexities of Contesting a Loved One’s Wishes

A will contest refers to a legal challenge questioning the validity of a deceased person’s last will and testament. While wills are designed to provide a clear roadmap for the distribution of assets, disputes may arise leading to contests. Resolving these challenges involves navigating specific legal procedures which is why working with our Moorestown NJ will contest attorney is essential.

Understanding the complexities of will contests is crucial for individuals involved in estate planning. It emphasizes the need for clarity and fairness in the distribution of an individual’s estate.

Quick Summary:

  • Understanding Will Contests: A will contest challenges the validity of a deceased person’s will, often arising from disputes over asset distribution.
  • Who Can Contest a Will in New Jersey: Eligibility to contest is granted to those with legal standing, including heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. Spouses, previous beneficiaries, and interested parties directly affected by probate proceedings can contest a will.
  • Grounds for Will Contest in New Jersey: Grounds for contest include undue influence, duress, coercion, fraud, and forgery, among others. Lack of testamentary capacity and improper execution are also valid reasons to contest a will in New Jersey.

What is a Will Contest?

When a person passes away, their will outlines how their assets and estate should be distributed among beneficiaries. However, certain circumstances may lead interested parties to question the legitimacy of the will.

Will contests are challenges to the validity of a will. These challenges assume that the will is not an accurate reflection of the testator’s intent. Gathering evidence for will contests is quite complicated. In some cases, there may be emotional conflicts with the heirs.

Who Can Contest a Will in New Jersey?

The eligibility to contest a will extends to individuals who have legal standing. This means they have a direct interest in the outcome of the will.

Only interested persons are entitled to bring a will contest against the estate. An interested person is anyone whose own rights, financial status, or general well-being will be affected by the outcome of the probate proceedings at issue. Common categories of people allowed to contest a will include:

  • Heirs and Beneficiaries: Individuals who would inherit under intestacy laws if the will is deemed invalid.
  • Previous Beneficiaries: Those named in prior will versions or promised an inheritance, who may contest the current will.
  • Spouses: Spouses, even if not in the will, can contest if they receive less than state-intestacy entitlements. Applies to widows, widowers, and disinherited spouses.
  • Creditors: In some cases, creditors with legitimate claims against the deceased’s estate may contest the will if it impacts debt collection.

What are the Grounds For A Will Contest In New Jersey?

There are several grounds on which a person can contest a will. Common grounds for a will contest in New Jersey include:

Undue Influence

Undue influence is one of the most common allegations made in contested will litigations. This happens when someone takes advantage of the deceased’s vulnerability or weakness to pressure them into changing their will in their favor. This could be a caregiver or a family member. The burden of proof falls on the person contesting the will to show that the deceased was subject to undue influence.


Duress involves claims that the testator was forced to create or change the will against their free will due to threats or coercion. It can be considered a defense in legal proceedings. Actions performed under duress may be deemed involuntary and lacking genuine consent.


Coercion is the act of using force and threats to manipulate another person’s decision-making. This often leads them to take actions they would not choose.


Fraud is a deceptive or dishonest act intended to result in financial or personal gain at the expense of another individual or entity. Fraud can take various forms, including:

Fraud in the Inducement

Providing false information or making false statements to persuade someone to do the following:

  • enter into a contract
  • make a decision
  • take an action

Fraud in the Execution

Deceiving someone about the nature or contents of a document to get their signature.

Concealment or Non-Disclosure

Failing to disclose material information that one is legally or ethically obligated to reveal, with the intent to deceive.


Forgery involves the unauthorized copying or replication of a document or signature to use it for fraudulent or deceptive activities. Forgery intent to deceive others into believing that the forged item is genuine or authentic.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

This can be demonstrated if the testator did not have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of creating a will at the time of its execution.

Improper Execution

This refers to the challenges related to the formalities of executing a will, such as:

  • inadequate witnessing
  • failure to meet legal requirements
  • issues with the testator’s signature
  • will was not executed according to New Jersey procedural requirements
  • will was modified or a new will was written to supersede the existing one

Posternock Apell, PC Can Resolve Your New Jersey Will Contest Through Mediation

Mediation is often used as a method for resolving the will contest peacefully. Extended probate litigation can further delay the distribution of the estate assets at issue, and it can be costly, depending on the circumstances. A high-conflict will contest may unnecessarily lengthen the probate litigation process.

By engaging in informal mediation, the parties can meet in a less hostile environment and explain their side of the argument in an attempt to secure a fair settlement. If properly executed, a negotiated settlement can be a win-win for all parties involved.

Why Do I Need a Will Contest Attorney in New Jersey?

Contesting a will can be a complex process. Given the potential challenges associated with will contests, working with our Moorestown NJ will contest lawyers at Posternock Apell, P.C. can provide several crucial benefits. Here are some reasons why you may need an attorney for a will contest in New Jersey:

  • Legal Knowledge: We have an in-depth knowledge of the specific statutes, rules, and procedures applicable in New Jersey. We understand the complexities of the legal system and can guide you through the process.
  • Understanding Grounds for Contest: We can help you assess the grounds on which you are contesting the will and determine their viability under New Jersey law.
  • Procedural Compliance: Contesting a will involves adhering to specific legal procedures and deadlines. We can ensure that all required documents are prepared, filed, and served according to New Jersey probate laws.

A will contest isn’t only about legal technicalities. It can involve complex family dynamics and emotional strains. Working with our estate planning law firm is advisable to ensure your interests are represented and protected.

Call Our Moorestown NJ Will Contest Attorneys Now!

Whether you are looking to contest a will, or you are defending the will against a contest brought by an interested person, our Moorestown NJ will contest lawyer can assist you throughout the dispute process. Here at Posternock Apell, PC, we represent clients in a range of estate and probate-related disputes, including will contests.

Our estate planning law firm has extensive experience in representing clients in various stages of a will contest. We provide end-to-end service in the estate planning and litigation contexts. We are well-equipped to serve as thoughtful advocates during a will contest dispute. Given our comprehensive approach to client engagement, we are capable of negotiating a favorable resolution to a will contest. If negotiations break down, we are more than willing to take the case to court and argue the issues directly.

Want to learn more about how you should proceed? Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation and let us help you increase your chances of a successful outcome. We have an office at 400 North Church St. Suite 250, Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as offices located in Browns Mills and Philadelphia, PA.