If you have grounds to challenge the will, your lawyer will file a will contest petition with the court in New Jersey.

HACKENSACK, NJ, June 18, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ — In late April, Oscar nominated director of such films as Boyz N the Hood and 2 Fast 2 Furious, John Singleton, died at the age of 51. Singleton suffered from hypertension and went into a coma and later died following a stroke. The Source reports that Mr. Singleton’s will left his $35 million estate to his first-born child. The late director, however, is survived by seven children. While Mr. Singleton died with a will, he had it made soon after his first child was born and never amended the will to include the other six children. If the alleged will stands, his six youngest children will be cut off from an inheritance by the father, all because of a potential mistake.

While generally, the deceased person has the final say in whom he or she gifts in a will, parents often fail to update their wills when subsequent children are born or provide language in their will to include unborn children by mistake or because they simply did not get around to making the change. Mr. Singleton died unexpectedly and at a young age. If you or your minor child are left out of a parent’s will you may have to contest the will to have your children included. Below are factors to consider when thinking about challenging a will or starting a will contest in New Jersey.

Obtain a Copy of the Will

The executor will be able to provide you with the will and any previous versions of the will and a list of assets before the will enters probate. If you cannot obtain a copy of the will before it enters probate, you are able to receive a copy from the probate or surrogate’s court.

Is it Worth the Legal Fight?

While your first impulse may be to contact a family law lawyer, if your children are minors, an estate planning lawyer will be able to assist you and your minor children. Contesting a will is expensive. Carefully weigh the potential reward to the actual cost. Will contests must be filed by a certain date or the child loses the right to challenge any designation or lack thereof.

Contest the Will in Court

If you have grounds to challenge the will, your lawyer will file a will contest petition with the court in New Jersey. The chief aim of a will contest is to invalidate the current will and enforce a previous will that listed you or your child as a beneficiary. If the current will is invalidated, and there is no other will, disposition of the decedent’s estate will be made according to New Jersey’s intestacy laws. Intestacy is the process of disposing of a decedent’s assets when he or she dies without a will. The burden of proof, to demonstrate that a current will is invalid, is on the challenger of the will, even if the challenger is a minor.

The Giro Law Firm is a New Jersey and New York law firm located in Newark, NJ that handles a wide range of legal matters that affect families and the elderly and disabled populations, including child support, child custody, divorce, guardianship, retirement, health care planning, long term care planning, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid planning, among other legal services. To request a consultation with an estate planning lawyer today, click here or call (201) 690-1642.

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