If a party has decided that it would like to Contest a decedent’s Will, the next question that arises concerns the appropriate venue to file the Will Contest. The general rule, as set forth by Rule 4:80-1(c), is that a Will Contest must be commenced in the State and County where the decedent died a resident. As such, if a person passed away as a resident of Mercer County, then the Will Contest must be commenced in the Mercer County Superior Court. There are, however, exceptions where a non-resident decedent may be subject to a Will Contest within the State of New Jersey.
This Rule provides that even if a decedent is not domiciled in the State of New Jersey, a Will Contest may still be commenced in the County where the decedent left any property or into which property belonging to the decedent may have come since his death. The only caveat to this exception would be if a Will Contest or action to probate a Will in another jurisdiction had already commenced. Under those circumstances, the Will Contest would have to take place in the foreign jurisdiction. If that had not already occurred, however, a party may commence a Will Contest in the State of New Jersey, provided those conditions have been met. As will be discussed in another Blog, whether a decedent is considered a resident of the State of New Jersey or another jurisdiction can often be the subject of litigation.