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It is well accepted law that an Executor of an Estate may use Estate assets to defend any challenges levied against the Will and any provisions contained therein. So long as what is challenged is the Will itself or a provision therein, an Executor may hire an attorney to defend the Estate. Any counsel fees incurred in defending against a challenge to the Will would be payable through the Estate by the Executor. On the other hand, there are limitations as to when an Executor may utilize Estate assets to defend against claims related to non-probate assets.

Continue Reading Executor’s Right to Use Estate Assets to Pay Counsel Fees

In general, a contractor or supplier is entitled to file a lien against a commercial property if they have performed work or provided materials pursuant to a written contract with the owner. These lien claims must be filed within 90 days of the last date of providing materials or services for the project.

On the other hand, if a contractor or supplier is providing materials or services for a tenant of a commercial property, the rules are different. The differences as to what the lien may attach to are discussed in detail below.

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Upon the death a loved one, the Last Will and Testament governs how the liquid assets of an Estate are distributed. It is also common that the Last Will and Testament may provide instructions as the distribution of some of the personal property of the Decedent. Even under such circumstances, however, this often leaves a large amount of personal property which has to be divided among the living heirs. There are several different ways in which the remaining items of personal property of the Decedent can be distributed which is discussed below.

Continue Reading Division of Personal Property in an Estate

Although it is typical for AIA form contracts to contain arbitration clauses, as a contractor you should consider whether you should have an arbitration clause in your construction agreement. As discussed below, there are numerous factors to consider in determining whether mandatory arbitration is the preferred dispute resolution mechanism, or whether the state court system is preferred. Although arbitration may have some advantages, there are also disadvantages which must be considered rather than simply adopting the AIA form. Continue Reading Should I Have an Arbitration Clause in My Construction Contract?

When an Executor named under a Last Will and Testament seeks to probate the Will of the Decedent, the original copy containing the original signatures of the Decedent must be submitted to the Surrogate’s Office. What happens, however, if the original copy with the original signatures cannot be located? Under such circumstances, the only option may be to seek to probate a copy of the original Will.

Continue Reading Probating a Copy of a Will

Whether you are a general contractor or a subcontractor, you have probably come across a pay when paid clause within a subcontract or general contract. The idea of the clause is that the contractor or subcontractor would not be responsible for payment to a lower-tier contractor unless and until it has received payment pursuant to its contract with an upper-tier contractor or owner. While this is a good idea, the Courts have often found such provisions to be unenforceable.

Continue Reading Pay When Paid Clauses in Construction Contracts

Should a person wish to file a Will contest, the first threshold issue which must be addressed is whether that person has standing to file a Will contest.

In general, “standing” means whether a Plaintiff legally has a right to bring a claim to contest a Last Will and Testament in the Court with jurisdiction to hear the matter. The spouse, child, or next of kin of the Decedent automatically have a right to file a Will contest, whether they are named within that instrument or not.

In addition to these family members, a beneficiary under a current or previous Will would also have standing to commence a Will contest. These individuals have standing to contest the current Will even though there may be no blood relationship between them and the Decedent. The rationale for granting these individuals standing is because if the disputed Last Will and Testament is invalidated by the Court, then the Court could require that the Decedent’s previous Last Will and Testament be admitted to probate. For a direct citation to the relevant Court Rule, you may refer to Rule 4:80-1 within the New Jersey Rules of Civil Practice and Procedure which governs standing to contest a Will.

Should a party wish to file a Will contest, they should consult with an attorney to assist them with the process. Standing is merely one factor to consider with regard to a party’s right to file the Will contest; however, it is a threshold issue.