Probate and Estate Litigation. The Firm offers legal assistance with probate and estate litigation, which usually involves a contested will or a large estate that may require a lengthy administration proceedings involving payment of taxes and creditors’ claims as well as distribution of assets to beneficiaries. Ms. Schoenefeld’s accounting background – a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and several years of experience in corporate accounting – is particularly useful in assisting with administration of large or complex estates.
Guardianship. A guardianship is a legal proceeding, in which a petitioner – usually, but not always, a relative or next of kin – seeks to declare an alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”) as being unable to govern his or her affairs and in need of a guardian, a person who would make decisions for the alleged incapacitated person because that person is unable to make such decisions on his or her own. Guardianship may be full or complete (i.e., when the AIP is not capable of making any decisions) or partial (e.g., the AIP may be unable to make decisions regarding some aspects of his or her life but preserve his or her decision-making capacity with respect to other areas of life). After the petitioner files a verified complaint, the court will appoint counsel to represent the AIP whose role is to ensure that the AIP’s rights are preserved and interests are presented to the court. In some instances, the court may also appoint a guardian ad litem, whose role is to ascertain and to act in the AIP’s best interests. Ms. Schoenefeld represents the petitioners and the AIPs in guardianship proceedings, serving as a court-appointed counsel for alleged incapacitated persons in Mercer County, New Jersey.