Probate and Guardianships

Strong Representation When You Need It

Most probate matters involving estate administration are non-adversarial but involve the preparation of detailed tax returns and reports. We handle routine estate administration matters in our office. For more complicated estates with continuing financial transactions, we usually work with accountants who are experienced in estate administration. We are happy to collaborate with the family's accountant if he or she has the requisite experience, or we can recommend accountants with whom we have had satisfactory dealings in the past.

Most guardianships are also non-adversarial, but there are strict standards that must be met, because the courts will not enter an order of incapacity unless the evidence is clear that the person is unable to care for him/herself. This requires adherence to the Rules of Court and decisional case law with the input of qualified physicians and court-appointed advocates for the allegedly incapacitated person.

At the law office of Michael C. Rudolph, Esq., P.A., in Kinnelon, New Jersey, I offer my clients over 50 years of experience as an attorney. I have extensive experience in probate and guardianship matters, and I am committed to helping you reach a positive resolution to your probate or guardianship issue in the most dignified and stress-free manner possible.

Committed to a Positive Outcome

Contested probate litigation usually arises when a person believes he or she has not received a fair share of the estate. The person contesting the will (the Caveator) typically seeks to prove one or more of the following:

  • Ambiguity in the will
  • The will was improperly drafted or executed
  • The testator lacked sufficient capacity to execute a will
  • The testator executed the will while subject to undue influence at the hands of the proponent of the will

This type of litigation can be contentious, time-consuming and physically and emotionally draining. I try whenever possible to seek a reasonable negotiated resolution of these types of conflicts, but when this is not possible, I provide my clients with aggressive, professional advocacy.

Contested guardianship cases can likewise be emotional and stressful. The issues almost always involve either a battle as to who will be the guardian, pitting family members against each other because of personal disagreements as to who is better-suited to have the responsibility for, and power over a loved one. Or, the alleged incapacitated person may fight the need for guardianship, particularly when he or she lacks the capacity to handle his/her affairs but still has the capacity to comprehend what is happening. This type of matter is made worse when one family member sides with the alleged incapacitated person and questions the motives of the person who brought the case to court. I know how to explore the possibility of negotiated resolutions by discussing limited guardianships in appropriate cases and by trying to deal with other issues that may be the real driving force to opposition.

When a trial is necessary, I provide my clients, as I do with probate litigation, with aggressive but professional advocacy. I also know that a well-drafted general durable power of attorney can, at a fraction of the cost, spare a family the time, expense and anguish of having to air its problems in a court proceeding that is open to the public. With proper planning, a power of attorney can be executed while you have the capacity to make decisions for yourself and designate who will be in charge when you can no longer make those decisions.

Discuss Your Case With a Lawyer

No matter which side of the argument you are on in a probate or guardianship matter, I will fight tirelessly in pursuit of a result that benefits you. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. I offer appointments at my Kinnelon and Oakland offices for your convenience. I am available during regular business hours or by appointment. Both offices are handicap accessible.

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