Emotions can drive New Jersey estate planning

As some people grow older, they also grow to be more isolated. Family that used to keep in touch can often begin to fade away as a person ages. This can cause many older New Jersey residents to review and update their estate planning documents.

There are times when emotion will drive decisions made regarding an estate plan. A person who at one time left everything to his or her family may decide later to change that. In some cases, a person's family may be excluded in writing from receiving any inheritance, and the estate is left to people or organizations outside the maker's family.

This can sometimes cause family members to dispute a will upon the death of the family member. Many will contests occur because family believes that a relative must have been unduly manipulated into changing his or her will. The belief is that the person would never have written out family in favor of people who may have been there at the end, but aren't family.

Just such a dispute regarding the estate planning choices of Huguette Clark who was worth a reported $300 million when she died at 104 years old. She disinherited her family and left her fortune to others in a will that was drafted and executed just six weeks after the will that left everything to members of her family. Everyone in New Jersey has the right to leave their property to whoever they wish, but sometimes, those left behind can disagree with those choices and try to have a will invalidated.

Source: AARP, Where There's a Will There Isn't Always a Way, Lisa McElroy, Sept. 16, 2013

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