Defendant Rosemary Walsh was the executor of the estate of Irene Halpecka, and had been agent under Ms. Halpecka’s power of attorney. Along with the plaintiffs, Walsh was also named as a residuary beneficiary of the estate. Following Halpecka’s death, plaintiffs sued Walsh, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and undue influence in her actions as.. read more →

Happy Holidays to clients, supporters, friends and readers. Listed below are the ten (10) eleven (11) posts on the Vanarelli Law Office blog with the highest readership in 2017. After each hyperlinked blog post title, the original post date is included. Check out the list to see this year’s highlights. Our sincere thanks for taking.. read more →

Louis Acerra, the decedent, died at the age of 30 from injuries he suffered in a house fire. He survived more than two years after the fire before finally succumbing to those injuries. During those two years, he was cared for by Richard Litwin. Litwin had been in a relationship with the decedent’s mother when.. read more →

This appeal concerned the trial court’s ruling that a 2013 deed was valid. The appellants, who were appointed co-executors of the decedent’s will, claimed that the deed was the product of undue influence. The decedent had owned a condominium and, in 2012, she executed a deed conveying that interest to herself and her niece, as.. read more →

Plaintiff, a son of the decedent, filed a complaint in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, challenging the validity of the decedent’s will. A hearing in the matter was scheduled for June 2015, but plaintiff was unable to obtain a visa to come to the United States for the hearing. The hearing was postponed four times… read more →

The 19th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on November 9, 2017 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. As in past years, I presented the case law update at the opening plenary session. This year I summarized 40 elder and disability law cases decided from September 2016 through August.. read more →

The plaintiffs in this case were sisters Ashley Nelson-Guedez and Lyndsay Nelson-Nugent, whose father died in 2007. The plaintiffs’ father, Paul Nelson, predeceased their grandfather. Upon their grandfather’s death, his estate was probated in New Jersey, and Paul’s current wife (Jacqueline Limoli) received Paul’s share of Paul’s father’s estate. Plaintiffs alleged that Jacqueline agreed to.. read more →

Following the death of James E. Mellodge, his youngest child, Joyce Sealtiel, was appointed as his executrix. In the first probate action, the decedent’s oldest daughter, Joan Bozan, sued Joyce, claiming that Joyce unduly influenced their father to name Joyce as the beneficiary of certain POD accounts. A two-day trial was held and the complaint.. read more →

The decedent, Dr. Evan Merritt London, was single with no children. He executed a number of wills and trusts over the years, with the trusts as the primary vehicle for disposing of his estate. He would make periodic trust revisions in which his beneficiaries (including his niece and nephew, his best friend, and various charities).. read more →

2017 Elder and Disability Law Symposium ‘Elder and Disability Law Update’ to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. Westfield, NJ – October 15, 2015 — Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will participate in the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s 20th Annual Elder and Disability.. read more →

A court in Australia accepted an unsent, draft text message on a mobile phone as an official Last Will and Testament. Nichol v. Nichol The decedent, Mark Nichol, a 55 year old man, committed suicide in 2016. The decedent’s mobile phone was found on a work bench in the shed where the deceased’s body was found.. read more →

Dolores Pierce died in December 2014. She appointed her son Michael as executor of her estate, and letters testamentary issued on May 20, 2015. The decedent’s estate included 3 parcels of real property: a farm, a house (the “Pine Tree” property), and a third property where Michael lived and worked (the “Ramshorn” property). The decedent’s.. read more →

In this will contest, plaintiffs were named as residuary beneficiaries in the Last Will and Testament which the decedent, Charles W. Winter, Jr., executed in 1999. Plaintiffs were all cousins of the decedent. The three defendants also shared close personal and/or family relationships with the decedent. In a new Last Will and Testament executed on.. read more →

In the Matter of the Estate of Anna Fabics involved multiple lawsuits, motions, and other pleadings filed by the decedent’s son Joseph against Joseph’s brother Laszlo. Their mother’s will left her residuary estate to her two sons equally, and appointed Laszlo as executor. The will directed the executor to sell all property of the estate.. read more →

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled that a New Jersey attorney is liable for damages for using undue influence to take $391,000 from an elderly relative. Jane Adkins sued her brother, New Jersey attorney John Sogliuzzo, in federal court, claiming that her brother misappropriated assets belonging to Mary Grimley, their mother’s.. read more →

The testator, Harold Becker, executed a Last Will and Testament leaving his estate to his youngest son, Brandon (the child of the Mr. Becker’s second marriage), to the exclusion of his older sons, Scott and Stuart (the children of his first marriage). Mr. Becker’s will appointed his second wife (the couple were divorced but later.. read more →

In McDermott-Guber v. Estate of McDermott, parents deeded a one-half property interest in a vacant parcel to their daughter in 1986. The daughter and her husband began building a home on the property. According to the daughter, after her father died and left her mother as the sole owner of the remaining one-half interest, her.. read more →

Plaintiff Neil Epstein sued Barbara Epstein Petka, claiming that, as a result of her fraud and misrepresentation, the decedent had removed the plaintiff as a beneficiary of his will and living trust. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss in lieu of an answer, claiming that the complaint failed to state a claim pursuant to.. read more →

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the “2017 Sophisticated Elder Law” seminar given by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on August 10, 2017 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Vanarelli will provide an overview of strategies and tactics which have been used successfully in litigation.. read more →

Before his death, Arthur Zito was the subject of a contested guardianship litigation, in which his sons Arthur Jr. and David had sought to become Mr. Zito’s guardian. (A third son, Stephen, was not a party to this litigation.) After the court appointed Mr. Zito’s daughter Laura as guardian, Arthur Jr. and David moved to.. read more →

In 1997, Evelyn Worley’s son Dwight assisted her in opening a $100,000 Transfer On Death (“TOD”) account where he worked. Dwight was designated as the sole beneficiary of the account. In 2005, Evelyn signed a power of attorney (“POA”) naming Dwight as her agent. In 2008, she signed a will naming Dwight as her executor.. read more →

The Appellate Division affirmed a summary judgment ruling by a trial court in a probate lawsuit involving disputed issues of material fact relating to alleged incapacity and undue influence. In the Matter of the Estate of Tornaben, New Jersey Superior Court, App. Div., Docket No. A-5181-14T4 (Sept. 27, 2016). The Essex County Surrogate admitted the.. read more →

Robert Grafer, Jr. was the executor of his mother’s estate. He and his sister Laura were Mrs. Grafer’s only children, and the estate was to be divided between them in equal shares. The probate estate was valued at approximately $237,000, including a house. Non-probate assets totaling $184,000 had been held by Robert and his mother.. read more →

The defendant, William Lewis, was the administrator of his deceased mother’s estate. In connection with the administration of the estate, and related litigation with his brother regarding the estate, the defendant was represented by Eileen Siegeltuch, an attorney at Cureton Clark, P.C. The Cureton firm sent him an invoice for over $68,000 in legal fees.. read more →

When he died in 2012, the decedent, retired physician Henry D. Rubenstein, left his insolvent estate to his second wife and her nephew. Although he and his second wife had a son, his will explicitly left no bequest to that son. The second wife claimed that the decedent’s extensive health problems had depleted the estate.. read more →