What You Can Expect During the Estate Litigation Process

February 11, 2022
Alec Borenstein, Esq.

When a family member passes away, disputes and confrontations can arise while settling their estate -- especially when it involves a lot of money and other expensive assets. However, estate litigation plays a huge role in resolving any conflict among family members. It involves a multi-step process of gathering evidence, deposing witnesses, and eventually going to trial. 

Settling a deceased family member’s estate is easier when you avoid court proceedings, but sometimes it’s inevitable. In this article, our estate litigation attorneys in New Jersey will explain estate litigation in greater detail and provide you with realistic expectations of how the process will unfold. 

Research and Investigation

In the very first step of estate litigation, your estate litigation lawyer in New Jersey must investigate the conflict and determine whom the conflict involves. They will also obtain as much information as they can from you about what precipitated the dispute in the first place. They need to have an in-depth understanding of everything that’s happening. You should also provide your attorneys with communications from the opposing parties, which can include emails and text messages.

Filing a Complaint

Filing a complaint with the court requires you to outline all of the facts of the case and cite any laws that potentially prove you are entitled to monetary damages or other forms of compensation. The petitioner will likely ask the court to remove a trustee or invalidate a last will & testament. If someone is filing a complaint against you in court, you have the opportunity to dispute their claims and reject their requests. 

Related post: 5 Steps to Prepare for Estate Administration After a Loved One Dies 

The Discovery Process

Discovery allows both parties in the dispute to obtain evidence and information from both sides. Lawyers will submit written inquiries and depose witnesses under oath. Depending on the complexity of your case, the discovery process can take substantial time to complete.


The courts will encourage you to resolve any dispute via mediation, which involves a neutral third party to help further facilitate agreements outside of court. A mediator doesn’t make a ruling on the case but instead evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of both sides before weighing them against each other. In many cases, mediation is successful and allows both parties to avoid going to court.

Court Preparations and Going To Trial

If mediation is unsuccessful, the next phase in the process requires you to make the necessary preparations and argue your case before the surrogate court for your county. Depending on the complexity of your case, court proceedings can play out for several weeks or even months which is why this option should be avoided at all costs. 

Related post: 7 Estate Planning Mistakes That You Must Avoid  

Hire an Estate Litigation Attorney in New Jersey To Represent Your Case

Estate litigation cases can be extremely complex, especially if you don’t have an attorney to help guide you through the process. Here at Borenstein, McConnell and Calpin, we will carefully review your case before determining the best way of pursuing litigation. We understand how the entire process works -- we will protect your rights and litigate your case to the best of our abilities.

If you want to learn more about how we can assist you, feel free to call our offices and schedule an appointment with one of our trusted estate litigation attorneys in New Jersey. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that you receive a fair and proper inheritance. 


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About us

Borenstein, McConnell & Calpin, P.C. is a Wills & Estate Planning law firm serving Central and Northern New Jersey, as well as New York City. We strive not only to give you a great client experience, but to become your trusted adviser for life. To reach Alec, please send an email to alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

NJ Offices:
155 Morris Avenue, Suite 201
Springfield, NJ 07081

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Lebanon, NJ 08833

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