Flemington Legal Blog

Attractive nuisances on New Jersey properties

Individuals who buy land and develop it for residential or commercial purposes have a fair amount of discretion regarding what they choose to put on their properties. While they generally must comply with zoning regulations and other restrictive rules that may govern land use in their areas, they can often decide where, how and when to build on the land that they own.

Some individuals may choose to put certain features on their properties for their own personal use and enjoyment, such as swimming pools or decorative structures. While these features may not be dangerous when used in a safe and appropriate manner, they may become hazards when individuals, particularly children, attempt to enter them without appropriate training or care.

Why might a will be challenged in probate?

Probate is a legal process that involves the distribution of a person's estate based on the instructions left in their will. Once a person passes on their will goes to probate and is reviewed to ensure that it meets the technical requirements for a valid legal document. New Jersey and other states throughout the nation have their own rules for what a will must contain in order to be valid.

Therefore, one of the ways that a will may be challenged in probate is through the assertion that it does not meet the requirements of a valid will. An interested party may claim that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity when they signed their will, or that the will lacks the signatures of witnesses. Technical deficiencies in a will may lead to its challenge and eventual invalidation.

Estate planning is another way to prepare when welcoming a child

You may have known that you always wanted to have a child of your own. When you felt that the time was finally right, you and your spouse likely discussed the idea at length to determine what preparations you needed to make for welcoming a child. By the time your child was born, you felt more than prepared for providing a caring and nurturing home.

Even though you make sure your child knows that he or she is loved and ensure that your baby's needs are met, you may still have some planning to do. While learning how to care for your child was likely a priority for you, you may also need to prepare for the possibility that you will not be able to provide that care, which is where estate planning comes in.

The mental component of criminal charges

Many alleged criminal acts are identifiable by the actions that the alleged perpetrators undertake. For example, if a New Jersey resident is alleged to have committed battery then their case may move forward on evidence that they hit their alleged victim. However, action is not the only element that prosecutors must prove to convict individuals of criminal charges. There is a mental component to many criminal charges that must also be proven at trial.

That mental component is often referred to as mens rea, or the guilty mind. Individuals often will not be found criminally liable for their actions if they did not intend to commit crimes. For example, a person who absentmindedly carries an item out of the store, realizes their mistake and goes back to remedy their actions may not be charged with theft because they did not intend to deprive the store of the item without first paying for it.

Who is liable for a dog bite?

Dog bites can result in serious harm to New Jersey residents. When dogs attack, victims may be left with severe lacerations, disfigurement and other medical problems. Medical help should be sought by dog bite victims to ensure that their injuries have been properly assessed and treated.

Victims in New Jersey do, however, have the benefit of strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. That means that a person will be held liable for the bite harm their dog causes without the victim having to prove that the dog was vicious. In order for a victim to prevail on a strict liability claim the dog bite or attack must have happened in a public space or when the victim was legally on the land of the dog owner.

What can I expect after a loved one's brain injury?

A severe jarring or blow to the head can result in a devastating brain injury. Even if you see no external wound or obvious damage, the brain may have suffered bruising, tearing or bleeding that can result in traumatic and irreversible effects. The destruction of brain tissue cannot be reversed.

If your loved one recently suffered such an injury to the head in a fall, a motor vehicle collision or other accident caused by someone else's negligence or recklessness, you may have no idea what to do next or where to turn for help. It is natural to feel confused and overwhelmed, but the more information you gain about your circumstances, the better you will be able to make critical decisions about your loved one's care.

Changes in families should lead to changes in estate plans

Drafting a will and creating a comprehensive estate plan are actions that all New Jersey residents should undertake, regardless of their net worth. Practically everyone will have something to pass on when they are gone, and most people want to ensure that their assets and property go to the people that they love and not to the state.

However, as families and relationships change, individuals may find that their estate plans are no longer complete. Modifications may be needed to ensure that estate planners' desires are reflected in their testamentary documents.

What options are there for resolving a boundary dispute?

Different parcels of land touch at their boundary lines. When a New Jersey resident reviews the title to a parcel they may find the legal description of how the parcel is situated and how far it extends. It is often possible for individuals to go back to their land use and ownership documents to find out exactly where their properties start and their neighbors' properties end.

However, when land descriptions are incomplete or purportedly inaccurate, individuals may need to look into other options to resolve their boundary disputes. They may choose to have a new survey of the land in question done to re-establish the right division lines between the properties. They may also choose to come to an agreement concerning where the boundary lines should lie; when this option is exercised the property owners may wish to execute quitclaim deeds to formalize the agreement.

Is your college-bound child fully protected?

Sending a child off to college is a bittersweet event. You have already seen signs that your child is maturing, and this move is certain to provide the opportunity for further growth. Difficult as it may be, you have to let go. In fact, if your child is 18 years or older, the law has already severed certain ties.

The last thing you want to think about when your kid leaves for college is the possibility that he or she may become seriously ill or injured. Even if your son or daughter is attending a New Jersey institution, being apart when your child needs help may create a desperate feeling. Unfortunately, even if you were nearby, offering assistance may not be possible for you.

Where will your loved one's probate break down?

After a loved one dies, you have many details to take care of. You may find these welcome distractions as you deal with your grief and loss. Sooner or later, however, you will have to deal with your loved one's estate, and that often means going through the probate process.

Probate is the legal process for paying off your loved one's creditors and distributing any assets in the estate. If your loved one created a careful estate plan, probate may not be necessary. However, very few people take this step. Your loved one may not even have a will. Even if there is a will, you may quickly realize that certain factors can make an already long process even more complicated.

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