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Phone: 201-345-3018

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New Jersey estate planning: How to avoid disputes by heirs

There is a lot to think about when it comes to planning an estate in New Jersey. Most individuals want to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes and will do whatever is necessary to avoid any heirs contesting the will and delaying the process. In situations like this, a no-contest clause may be a useful estate planning tool.

In general, a no-contest clause stipulates that an heir is automatically disinherited if he or she attempts to contest the will. Individuals who wish to include one can make it broad or very specific. It's not just limited to assets listed in the will, either. Individuals can state in the clause that the inheritance can be canceled of anyone who challenges the distribution of assets outside of probate.

In some cases, the no-contest clause can state that the beneficiary must relinquish rights to other property. For example, if a spouse dies with a trust and retirement fund beneficiaries aside from the will, the surviving spouse may have to give up his or her rights to the retirement fund in order to receive assets from the trust. If the surviving spouse refuses to do this, he or she may only get a share of the retirement fund and nothing else.

When it comes to estate planning, nothing should be left to chance. Including a no-contest clause may help prevent heirs from claiming that there is a mistake, ensuring that assets are distributed as intended with minimal problems. It may be beneficial for any New Jersey residents planning their estates to speak to someone with knowledge of all the legal complexities that can arise and how to avoid them.

Source: Moapa Valley Progress, No-contest Clauses In Estate Planning, Jeffrey J. McKenna, Dec. 25, 2013

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