Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: Executor’s Power to Compromise, Contest, or Settle Claims

A Last Will and Testament confers upon every executor thereunder, in the absence of a contrary provision in the Will or in a court order, a wide-ranging set of administrative powers authorizing him or her so to act, provided he or she acts in good faith and with reasonable discretion.

Pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, unless otherwise limited by judgment, order, or the governing document, an executor, administrator, or trustee shall have the power “[t]o compromise, contest, or otherwise settle any claim in favor of the estate, trust, or fiduciary or in favor of third persons and against the estate, trust, or fiduciary.” As specifically referenced in the statute, this power also applies to New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax, New Jersey or Federal Estate Tax, income or other taxes.

As with the exercise of any power, an executor or administrator must always act “in good faith within the sphere of their powers, and exercise the care, circumspection and judgment of persons of ordinary prudence and sagacity.” Pursuant to New Jersey case law, if the only reasonable action under the circumstances would be to bring action to enforce a claim, the executor is under a duty to bring the action, but, if it is reasonably prudent to pay, release, compromise, or settle the claim, the executor has the power to do so – an executor “may buy the peace of the estate he represents, and extinguish doubtful claims against it, provided he acts discreetly and in good faith.”

In sum, in administering an estate, it is essential that the fiduciary understand the scope of his or her authority, proceed cautiously, and, as permitted by statute, that the fiduciary retain an experienced attorney in the event he or she has any questions or concerns as to whether he or she is taking an appropriate course of action.

Because estate administration, estate litigation, and Will contests require particular knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, your or your loved one’s Power of Attorney, suspicions of undue influence, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for removing an executor or administrator from office. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.


Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  –  2017  –  All Rights Reserved

Probate / Estate Practice Areas:  Will contests and disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence claims, Power of Attorney abuse and inter vivos gift disputes, drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, actions to remove a fiduciary, insolvency petitions, ejectment and eviction from estate or trust property, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)


Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents clients throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Howell, Freehold, Colts Neck, Rumson), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Jackson, Brick, Point Pleasant, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County (Chesterfield).

http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/new-jersey-probate-estate-litigation-executors-power-to-compromise-contest-or-settle-claims/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/location/middlesex-county/old-bridge-nj-attorney/old-bridge-new-jersey-attorney-justin-m-smigelsky-esq/

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: “When Will I Receive My Inheritance?”

In administering an estate, beneficiaries of the estate will routinely ask – “when will I receive my inheritance?” The answer, of course, is – “it depends.”

Ordinarily, it will take approximately one year to complete the administration process and, in fact, distribution of an intestate’s property is not supposed to be made prior to the expiration of one year after the granting of administration. Ideally, administration can be completed within this time; however, the exact timeframe is unpredictable based upon numerous factors including the disposition of any real estate, tax issues that may arise, issues with creditors of the estate, and the degree to which any litigation ensues. For example, in the event that an Estate Tax Return must be filed, or judicial intervention becomes necessary, an administration period of two years or more may be necessary.

Pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, an executor or administrator is under a duty to settle and distribute the estate “as expeditiously and efficiently as is consistent with the best interests of the estate.” Furthermore, an executor or administrator “shall proceed expeditiously with the settlement and distribution of a decedent’s estate and do so without adjudication, order, or direction of a court, but he may invoke the jurisdiction of a court, in proceedings authorized by law to resolve questions concerning the estate or its administration.”

While it is necessary for the fiduciary to proceed expeditiously, it is essential that he or she observe the requisite standard of care; specifically, that he or she “observe the standards in dealing with the estate assets that would be observed by a prudent man dealing with the property of another.” Also, if the personal representative has special skills or is named personal representative on the basis of representations of special skills or expertise, he or she is under a duty to use those special skills or that expertise. In the event that the fiduciary fails to proceed expeditiously, or fails to properly administer the estate, action to compel settlement of the estate or to remove the fiduciary may be necessary.

Because estate administration, estate litigation, and Will contests require particular knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, your or your loved one’s Power of Attorney, suspicions of undue influence, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for removing an executor or administrator from office. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq.  –  All Rights Reserved

Probate / Estate Practice Areas: Will contests and disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence claims, Power of Attorney abuse and inter vivos gift disputes, drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, actions to remove a fiduciary, insolvency petitions, ejectment and eviction from estate or trust property, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: Action to Remove an Executor or Administrator

Pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, an executor or administrator of an estate, a trustee, a guardian, or an agent under a Power of Attorney may be removed from office for the following reasons:
(A) After due notice of an order or judgment of the Court so directing, he or she neglects or refuses, to timely file an inventory, render an account, or give proper security; 
(B) After due notice of any other order or judgment of the Court made under its proper authority, he neglects or refuses to perform or obey the order or judgment within the time fixed by the court; 
(C) He or she has embezzled, wasted, or misapplied any part of the estate committed to his or her custody, or has abused the trust and confidence reposed in him or her; 
(D) He or she has removed from the State of New Jersey or does not reside therein and neglects or refuses to proceed with the administration of the estate and perform the duties and trust devolving upon him; 
(E) He or she is of unsound mind or mentally incapacitated for the transaction of business; or 
(F) One or two or more fiduciaries has neglected to perform his or her duties or to join with the other fiduciary or fiduciaries in the administration of the estate committed to their care whereby the proper administration and settlement of the estate is or may be hindered or prevented.
New Jersey case law is clear that, when a fiduciary is appointed by Will, removal by the Court will be granted only sparingly and with great caution; generally, Courts are reluctant to remove a fiduciary appointed by Will unless there is “clear and definite proof of fraud, gross carelessness, or indifference.” Furthermore, where the facts for and against removal are disputed, a plenary hearing must be held.

Because estate administration, estate litigation, and Will contests require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, your or your loved one’s Power of Attorney, suspicions of undue influence, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for removing an executor or administrator from office. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  –  2017  –  All Rights Reserved

Probate / Estate Practice Areas: Will contests and disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence claims, Power of Attorney abuse and inter vivos gift disputes, drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, actins to remove a fiduciary, insolvency petitions, ejectment and eviction from estate or trust property, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)


Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents clients throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Howell, Freehold, Colts Neck, Rumson), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Jackson, Brick, Point Pleasant, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County (Chesterfield).

http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/new-jersey-probate-estate-litigation-action-to-remove-fiduciary/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/location/middlesex-county/old-bridge-nj-attorney/old-bridge-new-jersey-attorney-justin-m-smigelsky-esq/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: Action to Compel Inventory of the Decedent’s Property

Generally, New Jersey law does not require that an Executor or Administrator file an inventory of the decedent’s assets as a matter of course. However, pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, the Court may force an Executor or Administrator to file an inventory of all real and personal property of the decedent “which has come to his hands, possession or knowledge or into the hands of any other person for him.”

Procedurally, an application to compel the filing of an inventory is brought in a summary manner by way of verified complaint upon an order to show cause, and is brought in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part of the same county of appointment. By statute, an application to compel the filing of an inventory by the estate’s personal representative cannot be filed until three (3) months after appointment of the personal representative; however, limited exceptions may apply to this timeframe. Similar to the filing of a fiduciary accounting, an interested party may file exceptions to the inventory of the personal representative; ordinarily, a party may except to the inventory on the basis that the Administrator or Executor failed to include certain property in his or her inventory.

An inventory is intended to notify all interested parties of the assets and liabilities of the estate, and to presumptively fix the values of real and personal property. Therefore, it is necessary that appraisers be designated in accordance with the Probate Code. In any event, it is imperative that the personal representative’s inventory be specific, detailed, and accurately describe all assets, real and personal property, debts owed and claims.

Because estate administration, estate litigation, and Will contests require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, your or your loved one’s Power of Attorney, suspicions of undue influence, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for filing a formal accounting / inventory or exceptions thereto. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  –  2017  –  All Rights Reserved

Probate / Estate Practice Specialties: Drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, insolvency petitions, will contests and disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence claims, Power of Attorney abuse and inter vivos gift disputes, ejectment and eviction from estate or trust property, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)


Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents clients throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Howell, Freehold, Colts Neck, Rumson), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Jackson, Brick, Point Pleasant, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County (Chesterfield).

http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/new-jersey-probate-estate-litigation-action-to-compel-inventory-of-the-decedents-property/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/firm/attorneys/justin-m-smigelsky-esq/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/practice-areas/estate-administration-and-litigation/

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Jersey Personal Injury Law: Things to Do After a Car Accident

Following an auto / car accident, a prospective client will ordinarily ask, “what should I do?” The following is a general guide as to some of the necessary steps to take if you have been injured in a car accident. It is important to note at the outset that no two cases are alike, and issues regarding insurance coverage, PIP coverage, or compensability of your injuries can be very complex – if you have been injured or have any questions in regards to personal injury law or your car accident, you should immediately consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Most importantly, if you have been injured, you should immediately seek necessary medical attention for any injuries sustained. To allow your treatment providers to properly diagnose and treat your injuries, it is necessary to inform any EMS personnel, doctors, nurses, and surgeons of your symptoms and complaints, as well as how the injury occurred. Failure to seek treatment immediately upon injury can obviously have serious consequences on your health – additionally, failure to properly document your injuries and treatment could be harmful to any claim you may have.

It is extremely important that the accident be properly documented and that all necessary information be gathered. Therefore, it is essential to immediately report the accident to the local police department, or to the New Jersey State Police depending upon the location – of course, this assumes that your injuries are not so severe so as to prevent you from doing so, or that you do not require emergency medical attention. Similarly, it is necessary to obtain the name, address, telephone number, license plate number, insurance information, and driver’s license number of everyone involved in the accident and any witnesses, while you should also make note of the weather conditions at that time, any observations of traffic signals or devices, commercial or other markings on any vehicles, and any possible contributing factor to the accident (cell phone usage, pedestrians, odor of alcohol, etc.).

To the extent possible, photographs should be immediately taken of the accident scene, any visible injuries, all vehicles involved, and any property damage. With today’s technology, your cell phone or tablet could be an easily accessible way to preserve this important evidence.

Next, any statements made at or about the time of the accident may be critical to your claims or defense; statements made to first responders, investigating officers, or any medical treatment providers will more-likely-than-not be presented if any claim is made as the result of the accident. Therefore, it is imperative that you exercise the utmost discretion in any statements you make to anybody. Generally, because your words could easily be misinterpreted or twisted against your interests, it is suggested that you not unnecessarily discuss the accident or your injuries with anyone other than your attorney or your treating doctor – insurance companies are notorious for soliciting statements that could later be used against you. On the same note, be sure to consult with your attorney prior to signing any documents.

It is worth noting that New Jersey has a Statute of Limitations that prevents the filing of a personal injury complaint or claim petition for workers’ compensation benefits after two (2) years from the date of the accident in most instances. Furthermore, if you wish to pursue a claim against a public entity or governmental agency, or any employee of a public entity, you must give timely notice of the intent to file a claim, which is ordinarily within ninety (90) days from the date you knew or should have known of the cause of action. Failure to bring a claim within an applicable time period may cause any claim you may have had to be barred forever. Therefore, if you have been injured and wish to seek compensation, it is imperative that you do so immediately upon sustaining injury.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  –  2017  –  All Rights Reserved


Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents injured clients throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Howell, Freehold, Colts Neck, Rumson), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth, Linden), Ocean County (Brick, Toms River, Jackson, Point Pleasant), Somerset County, and Burlington County.

http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/new-jersey-personal-injury-law-things-to-do-after-a-car-accident/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/firm/attorneys/justin-m-smigelsky-esq/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/practice-areas/personal-injury/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: Who is Entitled to the Joint Bank Account?

Unfortunately, disputes regarding joint bank accounts are very common in New Jersey estate litigation. Oftentimes, joint accounts will be established with an elderly parent for convenience purposes or a joint account will be created with a “right of survivorship” in an effort to make a testamentary disposition (a “poor man’s Will”). Most people, however, fail to understand the significance of jointly owning a bank account or the rights of the surviving owner upon the death of the other owner of the account – this misunderstanding of the law will often result in estate litigation.

Pursuant to New Jersey statute, during the lifetime of all parties, a joint account ordinarily belongs to the parties in proportion to the net contributions by each to the sums on deposit; however, in the event that a contrary intent is manifested by the terms of the contract or deposit agreement, or there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent at the time the account is created, this presumption may be rebutted. But who is entitled to the funds in the joint account upon the death of the other owner?

Generally, pursuant to New Jersey statute, there is a presumption of survivorship on joint bank accounts – upon the death of one of the account owners, the funds in the joint account will belong to the surviving owner unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intention at the time the account was created. As defined by statute, an “account” means a contract of deposit of funds between a depositor and a financial institution, and includes checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, share accounts, and other like arrangements.

In a fairly recent published opinion concerning litigation over joint accounts, Estate of Ostlund v. Ostlund, 391 N.J. Super. 390 (App. Div. 2007), the Appellate Division considered an estate’s right to funds held jointly in an account between the decedent and her son. The Court reiterated that, when the Mutli-Party Deposit Account Act governs the right of survivorship, the funds will belong to the joint owner upon death unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent at the time the account was created. Interestingly, in assessing whether the account should be deemed an estate asset, the Court also analyzed whether undue influence had been exercised in regards to the creation of the account.

It is important to note that, even if a joint owner is entitled to a joint account upon the death of the other owner, if other assets of the estate are insufficient, those funds may be deemed available to satisfy debts, taxes, and expenses of administration. Therefore, it is essential that any action regarding funds in a joint bank account be carefully considered. It is also important to note that, in most cases, a proper estate plan and a properly executed power of attorney document will help to avoid a later dispute as to joint accounts.

Because estate litigation and Will contests require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding your inheritance, a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, the elective share of a surviving spouse, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, powers of attorney, refunding bonds and releases, undue influence, and the procedures for filing a formal accounting or exceptions thereto. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.
 
Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  –  2017  –  All Rights Reserved
 

Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents individuals, families, and businesses throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Freehold, Howell), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Jackson, Point Pleasant, Brick, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County (Chesterfield).

Probate / Estate Practice Areas: Drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, insolvency petitions, will contests and disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence, Power of Attorney abuse, ejectment and eviction, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)

http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/new-jersey-probate-estate-litigation-who-is-entitled-to-the-joint-bank-account/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/firm/attorneys/justin-m-smigelsky-esq/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/

Monday, April 3, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: Jurisdiction of the Surrogate vs the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part

Ordinarily, application for the probate of a will, for letters testamentary, or for letters of administration will be filed with the county Surrogate. However, as set forth in the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey, there are certain matters in which the Surrogate may not act; specifically, unless explicitly authorized by the Superior Court, the Surrogate’s Court shall not act in any matter in which:
  1. A caveat has been filed with it before the entry of its judgment;
  2. A doubt arises on the face of a will or a will has been lost or destroyed;
  3. The application is to admit to probate a writing intended as a will as defined by N.J.S.A. 3B:3-2(b) or N.J.S.A. 3B:3-3;
  4. The application is to appoint an administrator pendente lite or other limited administrator;
  5. A dispute arises before the Surrogate’s Court as to any matter; or
  6. The Surrogate certifies the case to be of doubt or difficulty.
When the Surrogate is prohibited from acting, any person in interest can apply to the Chancery Division, Probate Part for an order to show cause why the relief requested should not be granted. In one of the most-recent decisions to address jurisdiction of probate matters, In re Estate of Stockdale, 196 N.J. 275 (2008), the loss of jurisdiction of the Surrogate’s Court once a caveat has been filed was confirmed; specifically, the New Jersey Supreme Court explained:
Although an uncontested, straightforward will may be admitted to probate through the Surrogate’s Court, as distinguished from the Probate Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court, and although letters testamentary or letters of administration may be issued thereon in that forum…if there is a dispute about the will…or if a caveat has been lodged against the will offered or expected to be offered for probate, the Surrogate’s Court is not empowered to act and the issues must instead be resolved through proceedings in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part…
The Court further explained:
The act of lodging, or filing, the caveat prevents the Surrogate from issuing letters that otherwise would operate so as to authorize a particular individual or entity to begin the administration of the estate and causes the matter to be pursued, generally in a summary matter…in the Probate Part…Alternatively, if a will has already been admitted to probate, it may be challenged by the timely filing of a complaint in the Probate Part.
Accordingly, when the Surrogate does not have or has lost jurisdiction in certain probate matters, it may be necessary to commence proceedings in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part.

Because probate, estate litigation, and Will contests require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have any questions regarding your inheritance, a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, the elective share of a surviving spouse, fiduciary obligations, refunding bonds and releases, and preparation or filing of an accounting for the administration of an estate or trust. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. / Timothy J. Little, P.C. / 2017 / All Rights Reserved

http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/new-jersey-probate-estate-litigation-jurisdiction-of-the-surrogate-vs-the-probate-part/
http://timothyjlittlelaw.com/firm/attorneys/justin-m-smigelsky-esq/