Question: My brother froze my mother’s will at the Camden County Surrogate’s Office. He says he is challenging the Will. What can I do?
First, let me clarify what has happened. Your brother has filed a Caveat with the Camden County Surrogate. By filing a Caveat, any interested party can prevent the Surrogate from immediately accepting a will and giving the executor the power to control the estate assets. When a Caveat exists, any will filed is then held, and the person who filed the Caveat is notified. In theory, the person who filed the Caveat will then go to the Camden County Surrogate’s office to review the will. If they wish to challenge the will, they will then proceed. If they do not wish to challenge the will, they will withdraw the caveat.
So, the will is not “frozen”, but instead it is being held for your brother’s examination.
Because you are the proponent of the will and you seem pretty sure that your brother will be challenging the will, your best option now is to retain an attorney experienced in Camden County Will Challenges. A Will Contest is a serious and complex matter. There are many options available, but the facts of your specific case will determine which path is best. Depending on your brother’s actions, as your attorney, we could file a petition to have the will accepted despite the Caveat or, this will may move directly into a Will Contest. Either way, you will need some experienced advice moving forward.
Given your brother’s hostile stance to the will, I would also expect that he will be more likely to challenge any actions you take as executor. Remember, until you receive a release from all beneficiaries you will continue to be responsible for estate assets. Even if the Caveat matter can be resolved, you will likely need the advice of an experienced Camden County Probate Attorney to help you obtain your release from liability.
If you have questions about Camden County Probate, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Wills, Trusts and Estates, It’s all we do!