When An Estate Is Contested

Having a will in place doesn't always guarantee that there won't be disputes and challenges. Beneficiaries, heirs and others with an interest in an estate may disagree about the terms of the will or estate administration and choose to bring legal action. At Piro Zinna Cifelli Paris & Genitempo LLC, our attorneys effectively represent clients in estate litigation matters to help achieve a favorable outcome for our clients.

Common Estate Challenges

While having a will and other estate planning tools in place is intended to prevent confusion and discord when the person in question dies, there may be some legitimate challenges to the validity of such tools based on certain considerations:

  • Questionable claims. For example, when a person dies and someone comes out of the woodwork claiming to be a long-lost relative with an interest in the estate, this could be considered a questionable claim that must be investigated and defended.
  • Undue influence or fraud. Sometimes presumed beneficiaries are surprised to find out that a relative had changed his or her will, bequeathing a large portion of the estate to a caretaker or a supposed significant other. In cases where the family suspects this person may have pressured the family member in question to change his or her will, legal action may be necessary. The same is true where beneficiaries suspect that the new will is simply fraudulent.
  • Misappropriated assets. In the case where a person entrusted to manage another's estate is suspected of wrongly siphoning off funds or assets for themselves, beneficiaries or heirs may choose to initiate an investigation and/or lawsuit.
  • Testamentary incapacity. Clients may choose to litigate an estate if the person whose estate is in question is suspected to not have had the mental ability to create or alter a will. This includes cases of dementia or another illness that would compromise decision-making capacity.

When these disputes cannot be resolved out of court, our litigators and estate planning attorneys have the skill and experience to team together to go to trial to invalidate or uphold the will, or to settle disputes over the value or disposition of assets.

Contact Us To Discuss Your Dispute

The lawyers at our law firm can provide perspective based on our decades of legal experience and help you sort through your options. To schedule your initial consultation, call our office at 973-542-2766 or use our online contact form to get in touch.