From my understanding, My mother gave the piano away. Long story short- This all started when I came into money last year. My mother claimed I "Owed" her x amount of dollars, I gave her a check back in September of 2011 for 10k. I never really knew what I owed her for but she was my mother and didn't question it. In January of 2012 she wanted an additional 15k from me. I agreed to pay her a certain amount each month as long as she provided me with an itemized bill or some sort of copy for what I owed her. I continued to make good faith payments to my mother all the way until May of 2012. She never produced a bill so I discontinued my good faith payments.
In August of 2012 I received a letter from union county Court house that she was suing me for the supposed remaining balance of $14,500. I went to my bank and viewed copies of all checks I have given to my mother since 2006, I can legally prove that I paid her over $37k for various bills, ect ect since then. It wasn't until then that a family member suggested I go to Middlesex County Surrogates office and look at my grandfathers will which is when I became aware of the money I was supposed to receive when I turned 17.
I guess my hopes were that I could somehow use this as leverage for her to drop this suit against me, kind of like a cease and desist or I will move forward with claiming my money from my grandfathers estate. My parents own a home and they do have money so there is no issue there.
On what basis is your mother claiming this money, though? It is important to have ALL the facts. If you do indeed owe her for some reason, then you may need to pay. Yes, I would think you would be entitled to an offset, but it sounds like you are still going to owe her a lot more, unless I am missing something. Why you owe her in the first place, I am not sure.
In the suit I received she claims she "Advanced" the defendant (me) $14,500.00. This is totally false, I am not sure even what I owe her the money for at this point, there is no contract, no itemized bill, there is no proof on her end that she gave me anything. her claim to me was that I owed her rent from years ago that I couldn't pay my parents when I was unemployed, money that I've used on her credit cards for gas (that she let me use), frivolous things, things your mother gives you money for when your younger and not established. There is no smoking gun here, my parents never gave me this kind of money. I have to answer this suit by 8/23 and have no idea where to start. i tried reasoning with her to no avail.
As far as the offset, when i researched my grandfathers will, i saw papers attached to his will from my aunt. My mother did the same thing to her sister, she took her sisters money for her own use. My aunt sued and got the money back including interest. If i was able to offset 3k with interest from 1990, the offset might be much more in my favor. I realize you are trying to help without me paying you and I truly appreciate your responses thus far.
I wish I could help you MORE, but I am not licensed in NJ. You appear to have two choices; 1) you can try to handle this yourself and see if it gets tossed out; or 2) you can hire an attorney to assist you. You will need to answer the complaint, either way. Without proof of the indebtedness, I do not think your mother had a good case. That being said, you are still in court, and if she has an attorney and you do not, you will be at a disadvantage.
You might check with an attorney and see how much the charge would be to represent you. If you decide to answer the complaint yourself, I would respond to each paragraph in the complaint with either "Admitted," "Denied," or "Cannot admit nor deny," and the reason why you cannot answer. I would think the existence of your potential claim would be an "Affirmative Defense." You might as well claim it. It sounds like you have a better chance of proving the inheritance than your mother has of proving her debt. (If you decide to hire an attorney, there is a "find a lawyer" link below. There are many fine lawyers in NJ that actively participate on Avvo). You would look for a litigation attorney, or collection attorney in your city.
Best of luck to you!