The decedent was survived by her incapacitated son, for whom the decedent had previously been appointed guardian. Following the decedent’s death, there was protracted litigation regarding the estate, a related trust, and the guardianship, which spanned four years. At the conclusion of the litigation, the attorneys involved submitted fee applications, seeking to be awarded payment.. read more →

In 2006, the William Mallas executed a Last Will and Testament dividing his estate equally between his brother and niece. In March 2008, he signed a power of attorney designating his neighbor, Frank Picciolo, as his agent. In November 2008, Mr. Mallas executed a new POA again naming Frank as his agent, and a new.. read more →

The defendant, who was the agent under his aunt’s power of attorney and executor of her estate, was sued by beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate for breach of fiduciary duty as her agent and executor. The power of attorney and will were executed in 1998. The plaintiffs alleged that, beginning in 2001, the defendant wrongfully.. 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 →

In 2003, Michael Yahatz opened a bank account. The following year, the bank was acquired by Bank of America (“BOA”) and the account was converted to a money market account. In 2005, Mr. Yahatz signed a BOA signature card, which included an acknowledgement that the account would be governed by BOA’s deposit agreement. The deposit.. read more →

Sylvia Fishbein and her husband created the Fishbein Revocable Trust in 1994. In 2005, following Mr. Fishbein’s death, Mrs. Fishbein executed a pour-over will, an advance directive naming her stepdaughter Leslie as her healthcare representative, and a power of attorney naming her nephew Eugene as her agent. In 2011, Mrs. Fishbein fractured her hip and.. read more →

Contrary to popular opinion, under the law of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states, an unlimited gifting authority in a power of attorney does not protect the agent from criminal liability for self-dealing. A recent appeals court decision in Pennsylvania demonstrates this legal principal. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Patton David L. Patton was arrested in.. read more →

Following the decedent’s death, one of his three children applied for summary administration of the estate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 3B:10-4, which governs intestate estates that do not exceed $10,000. More than two years later, the estranged wife of one of the decedent’s children filed an action for probate, claiming that there was a 2005 will.. read more →

Renee Halpecka died in 2005 when she was 84 years old. Before her death, Renee had been very ill for many years and was cared for by her husband. After her husband died in 2001, Rosemary Walsh, a neighbor, became Renee’s caretaker and served as her agent under a financial power of attorney and medical.. read more →

In a case that can be seen as a warning to potential plaintiffs in probate actions, the Appellate Division in In the Matter of the Estate of Lillian Schmidt, affirmed a Probate Part order denying counsel fees to the unsuccessful contestant in a probate litigation. In Schmidt, the defendant, John Teagno, who was the decedent.. read more →

  Several weeks ago, on Sunday, November 20th, I was a guest on The Caring Generation, a radio show airing on 630 KHOW-AM, a Talk Radio Station broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, and on the internet. The show is hosted by Pamela D. Wilson, who identified herself as the “Care Navigator.” The Caring Generation is about.. read more →

I am presently involved in a lawsuit in which my clients, three adult children of their now deceased father, are suing their deceased father’s former agent under a Power of Attorney. As alleged in the Verified Complaint filed by plaintiffs, the adult children claimed that the decedent either was incompetent when he signed the Power.. read more →

Matter of Mildred B. Trocolor involved a dispute between two of the decedent’s adult children who were co-executors of the decedent’s estate. The decedent’s daughter, Daryl, brought the lawsuit, alleging that, while the decedent, Mildred B. Trocolor, was alive, the defendants, her brother Robert and his wife, Genevieve, stole substantial sums of money from the.. read more →