How to Contest Wills in New Jersey

By Anna Assad

You can challenge the validity of a will being offered for probate in New Jersey if you are considered a person with an interest in the estate, such as a legal heir. Probate is the legal proceeding used to give the executor -- the person who oversees the estate -- authority and validate the will; in New Jersey, probate is handled through the surrogate's court. New Jersey has two valid grounds for a will contest: the person making the will, or the testator, was mentally incompetent at the time, or was subject to undue influence from another person.

You can challenge the validity of a will being offered for probate in New Jersey if you are considered a person with an interest in the estate, such as a legal heir. Probate is the legal proceeding used to give the executor -- the person who oversees the estate -- authority and validate the will; in New Jersey, probate is handled through the surrogate's court. New Jersey has two valid grounds for a will contest: the person making the will, or the testator, was mentally incompetent at the time, or was subject to undue influence from another person.

Step 1

Gather supporting evidence for your competency contest. Contact the physician who cared for the testator at the time the will was executed; you must prove the testator's mental state at the time of the will's execution in New Jersey. Ask the physician about the testator's mental state. Request copies of medical records.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Step 2

Collect evidence of your undue influence challenge. Search the testator's home for correspondence or other evidence of the relationship between the testator and the person you are alleging coerced or pressured the testator in making his will.

Step 3

Make a list of persons you believe can offer information to support your case. New Jersey law permits witness testimony at the contest trial. Contact each witness and verify the information. Tell the witness you are pursuing the case in court so he is prepared.

Step 4

Visit the New Jersey Surrogate Court clerk's office where the will is being offered for probate. Ask for the complaint form to initiate a will contest and court instructions. Fill out the complaint in full. Detail your reason for the contest. File the complaint with the court clerk. Take the stamped copy of the complaint from the clerk.

Step 5

Serve notice of the complaint on all interested parties, as required under New Jersey law. You must serve all persons with an interest in the state, like heirs and beneficiaries, the executor and the estate's attorney. Contact the court to determine if the parties must be personally served or if you can mail the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. File proofs of service with the court.

Step 6

Attend mediation with the estate's representatives. New Jersey typically recommends mediation for both parties to try and resolve the issue prior to trial. You will be notified of the mediation date and time by mail. Make a list of events that support your contest to prepare yourself.

Step 7

Inform all of your witnesses of the date and time of the trial if mediation does not work. Your witnesses must attend the trial to testify on your behalf.

Step 8

Comply with all court requests. Attend your hearing on the date and time set by the court. Bring your original evidence with you.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Contest a Will in Ohio

References

Related articles

How to Contest a Will Because of Mental Capacity

You may contest a will if you're an interested party, such as an heir or beneficiary of the deceased person, known as the decedent, and believe the decedent didn't have the mental capacity necessary to write a will. You must prove the decedent didn't meet the mental capacity standard at the time he wrote the will. The mental capacity required to make a will is much lower than the legal standard for other acts, such as making a contract. The will maker, or testator, must know who he is, have a general understanding of the assets he owns and understand the relationship between himself and likely beneficiaries of his estate, such as his spouse and children.

How to Contest a Will While Overseas

Your loved one's will contains the directions for the distribution of his assets and belongings to heirs. You, as an heir, have the legal right to contest a will being offered for probate, the legal procedure used to uphold the will and give authority to the executor, the person overseeing the estate. Acceptable legal reasons for a will contest vary by state but include fraud in the will's preparation or execution and questions as to your loved one's mental state at the time. You should retain legal representation in the United States if you live overseas and cannot attend hearings.

How to Get a Will From Probate Court

Wills are sometimes full of secrets, listing family assets, naming offspring -- legitimate and otherwise -- and creating legacies for some and disinheriting others. Many people store last will and testaments in safety deposit boxes, personal safes or sealed envelopes left with legal counsel. But when a testator dies, the will's executor opens court-supervised probate to collect assets, pay debts and distribute the estate, and any member of the public can view the document and even make a copy.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Contest a Will in Oregon

You can contest the validity of a will in Oregon if you have a legal reason and a connection to the estate such as ...

How to Contest the Executor of a Will

An executor is a person who handles the financial affairs of an estate, including the distribution of assets to heirs, ...

How to Probate a Will in Ohio

Probate describes the legal proceedings conducted when a person dies and leaves a will behind. Probating a will in Ohio ...

How to Contest a Legal Will

Just because an executor files a will in probate court does not make the will valid, and a trial ensues if challengers ...

Browse by category