A power of attorney does not have to return money she took from her now deceased principal because the power of attorney removed the money for Medicaid planning purposes. In re Estate of Hirnyk (Pa. Super. Ct., No. 84 WDA 2018, April 16, 2019). Maria Hirnyk, a Ukrainian immigrant, did not drive and required assistance with.. read more →

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the 2019 “Elder Law in a Day” seminar given by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on July 10, 2019 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Vanarelli will provide the case law update, summarizing the most significant legal developments.. read more →

In a decision by Honorable Robert P. Contillo, P.J.Ch. that was affirmed by our Appellate Division, the court analyzed complex family relationships to determine if gifts were made in good faith or the result of undue influence. The decedent had two children. Her daughter (the plaintiff) was the executrix and a beneficiary of her estate… read more →

For additional information concerning special needs trusts and disability planning, visit: NJ Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning For additional information concerning guardianships and fiduciary services, visit: NJ Guardianship and Fiduciary Services _______________________________________________ ABOUT DONALD D. VANARELLI Donald D. Vanarelli has been a practicing attorney since 1983 in New Jersey and New York. Don provides legal.. read more →

The decedent’s godchildren sought to probate a purported will that the decedent had neither reviewed nor signed. The decedent, who was 90 and in fragile health, had had a telephone conversation with an attorney she had never met. Based upon that conversation, the attorney drafted the decedent’s 17-page will. The decedent never had the opportunity.. read more →

After Mrs. Dreher died and her son probated her will, her daughter filed a complaint objecting to the probate. The plaintiff claimed that the will was the product of undue influence, and that her mother lacked testamentary capacity to sign the will. After four days of trial, the parties settled the case, and the terms.. read more →

The decedent’s daughter-in-law and grandchildren filed an action seeking to set aside the decedent’s 2016 will that disinherited them, and to admit a prior will and codicil. They claimed that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity to make the 2016 will, and that the decedent’s daughter had exercised undue influence to cause the decedent to disinherit.. read more →

Executors of the estate filed an Order to Show Cause requesting approval of the estate’s final accounting in a summary manner. The Order to Show Cause was entered and a return date was scheduled. Opposing family members filed a responsive pleading, in which they accused the executors of withholding financial information and commingling estate assets… read more →

Shortly after their father’s death, plaintiff (one of the decedent’s sons) filed a caveat against the estate, based on allegations of undue influence and payments made to his siblings prior to their father’s death. After his brother filed a complaint in the Superior Court, Probate Part to admit the father’s will to probate, plaintiff voluntarily.. read more →

Wayne Lippincott’s widow Anne probated a will dated two days before his death in 2015. The couple had been married 28 years, and each had grown children from prior marriages. Wayne’s children and grandchildren challenged the will, claiming undue influence, lack of capacity, forgery, and failure to comply with the formalities of execution. They sought.. read more →

In 1990, Irving Helsel established the “The 1990 Irving Helsel Family Trust” (the Trust), which included the “Irving Helsel Family Trust” (Family Trust) and the “Irving Helsel Exempt Trust” (Exempt Trust). He designated his children, Frederic and Bonnie, as beneficiaries of the Family Trust. The Family Trust allowed for distribution of the principal to Bonnie.. read more →

Harry and Jean Sable were the parents of three adult sons, Michael, Don and Barry. Harry and two partners owned a building in Philadelphia where Harry conducted Harry Sable, Inc., a jewelry business. Harry and Jean had wills prepared in 1994 and 1998 with similar provisions. Harry left his entire estate to Jean if she.. read more →

The decedent, Kathryn Parker Blair, had executed a will bequeathing her estate to her siblings and directing that, if any of her siblings predeceased her, that sibling’s share would pass to his or her surviving children. After her brother died, the decedent executed a new will omitting the brother’s child (“petitioner”) as a beneficiary. The.. read more →

(The following blog post is adapted from a summary of this case on the ElderLawAnswers website. Mr. Vanarelli is a founding member of ElderLawAnswers.) A New York appeals court ruled that a lower court erred in ordering the trustee of a special needs trust (SNT) to personally pay various fees and costs associated with the.. read more →

The decedent was an elderly man with no immediate family. His Last Will and Testament left his estate to a cousin, several charities and individuals, and to two Valley National Bank employees, including the defendant. One of the bank employees refused the bequest as unethical, based on the bank’s Employee Code of Conduct. The defendant.. read more →

The decedent’s wife predeceased him. Thereafter, in 2009 the decedent executed a new will leaving his estate to his wife’s niece (the defendant). At the defendant’s suggestion, the decedent also executed a revocable living trust. Shortly thereafter, he became concerned about losing control of his assets, and he retained a new lawyer to draft a.. read more →

Anthony F. Cordasco and his wife, Louise, were living in a condominium when Louise became ill in late 2012. The Cordascos decided to sell the condominium and move in with their daughter, Roseann Altiero, who agreed to care for Louise. Anthony and Louise signed a listing agreement in January 2013 and placed the condominium on.. read more →

For additional information concerning special needs trusts and disability planning, visit: NJ Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning read more →

Karen Horbatt was Theodore A. Kaczmarek’s niece by marriage. After Karen’s aunt died, Theodore executed a will in 2009 leaving Karen his entire estate, valued at over four million dollars. At the same time, Theodore executed a revocable living trust agreement, designating Karen as the sole trustee. Both documents were drafted by a lawyer procured.. read more →

The decedent was estranged from her daughter Cheryl, the defendant, for almost 25 years, but they reconciled shortly before her death, when the decedent was ill. In 1996, the decedent and her husband had executed wills and a trust, excluding Cheryl from their estates. In 2006, the decedent and her husband consulted with a special.. read more →

Robert B. Cohen was a man of “great wealth.” At the time of his death at age 86, he had suffered for years from a progressive form of Parkinson’s disease. His son James filed a complaint to declare that Cohen’s 2009 will, as later modified, was valid. In turn, Cohen’s granddaughter Samantha filed a complaint.. read more →

Following the decedent’s death, Bank of America became successor trustee of four trusts created by the decedent. In 2016, the decedent’s children filed complaints against the bank, seeking accountings for the trusts. The bank submitted accountings and a complaint seeking court approval of the accountings. The decedent’s children then filed another complaint, seeking another accounting.. read more →

For additional information concerning elder abuse actions, visit: Will Contests, Probate Litigation and Elder Abuse Actions   read more →

Gregory Bock, Jr. was born two months after his mother married Gregory Bock, Sr. However, Gregory Jr. was the result of his mother’s previous relationship with Douglas Castellano. Gregory Sr. and Castellano both knew that Castellano was the biological father; however, the birth certificate identified Gregory Sr. as the father. When Gregory Jr. was approximately.. read more →