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In general, the time to contest a Last Will and Testament is very short. An in-state resident who is aware of the notice of probate will have four months to challenge a Will from the time it is submitted to probate. On the other hand, an out of state resident would have six months to challenge a Last Will and Testament once it is admitted to probate.

Continue Reading Challenging a Previously Concealed Will

After a person passes away, their assets are typically divided into probate assets, which are assets which pass through the Estate, and non-probate assets, which are assets which pass outside of the Estate.

Probate assets are those to which a beneficiary is not specified, and thus, the assets become part of the Decedent’s Estate.

Non-probate assets those in which a direct beneficiary is specified by the instrument itself, and therefore, these assets pass outside of the Estate.

Traditionally, an IRA, a joint bank account, and other investment vehicles are considered non-probate assets provided the beneficiary designation or survivorship designation is properly executed.

Continue Reading Payable on Death Designations for IRA and Non-IRA Accounts

It would be unusual for a large to medium scale construction project to be completed without the general contractor experiencing issues with at least some of its subcontractors or suppliers.

Under such circumstances, it is typical for back charges to be assessed by the general contractor against the subcontractor or supplier who failed to perform properly pursuant to the terms of their contract. If the possibility of litigation looms in the future concerning such issues, or even if it may not, it is suggested that the general contractor carefully document any potential back charges against the subcontractor or vendor.

Continue Reading Documenting Backcharges on Construction Projects

If you are a contractor or subcontractor in New Jersey who is involved in the construction or renovation of residential structures, you should be aware of the requirements for filing a construction lien on a residence.

This process is markedly different from the filing of a construction lien with regard to a commercial property. The process to file a residential construction lien is outlined within N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-21.

In a commercial construction setting, a construction lien only has to be filed with the county clerk within 90 days of the last date the contractor or vendor provided the materials and services. On the other hand, the process for filing a lien on a residential property is much more involved.

Continue Reading Filing a Residential Construction Lien in New Jersey

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.

Continue Reading Construction Liens on Leased Commercial Premises

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