By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, Freehold, New Jersey

In New Jersey, the most frequent grounds for contesting a will or a trust in New Jersey are:

1. Lack of Mental Capacity, and
2. Undue Influence.

It is generally recognized by will contest lawyers that two levels of mental capacity are required for execution of estate planning documents (i.e. a will, testamentary trust, living trust, and power of attorney for property and for health care).  They are:

1. Testamentary capacity, and
2. Contractual capacity.

Mental Capacity is the term used to determine the degree to which an individual has the testamentary and contractual mental ability to understand the nature and effect of one’s acts.  NJ law decides whether an individual had sufficient capacity to knowingly engage in at the action that is being evaluated.  Mental Capacity is not an all or nothing concept; it can vary according to time of day, the task presented, and life’s stressors.

Here’s an example: a person may be determined incompetent in a guardianship proceeding because he is unable to manage his affairs, but he still may be competent to provide witness testimony if he remains able to observe, recollect, and communicate.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey Will contest or Trust dispute case.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.