Peter and his brother Sheldon are the only children of Anna Biber. Anna owned a home in Morristown, where she lived with Sheldon. In 1994, when Anna’s health began to decline, Peter was appointed her guardian. In 1998, Anna’s healthcare expenses increased significantly. Since his mother had insufficient assets to pay for care, Peter began.. read more →

For additional information concerning NJ elder law and special needs planning visit: NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Services _______________________________________________ ABOUT DONALD D. VANARELLI Donald D. Vanarelli has been a practicing attorney since 1983 in New Jersey and New York. Don provides legal services in the areas of elder law, estate planning, trust administration, special education,.. read more →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 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 →

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 →

It’s not always easy to recognize elder abuse when it happens to someone you love or care for. There are several types of elder abuse: Physical Abuse – An act, rough treatment or punishment that may result in injury, pain or impairment Psychological Abuse – Psychological, verbal or emotional abuse causing suffering, emotional pain, or distress.. read more →

The decedent, John F. Piazza, died a widower in 2012, survived by three children: Barbara Piazza (“Barbara”), John H. Piazza (“John”), and Debra Elly Shaefer (“Debra”). His will appointed Barbara as executrix, and left his residuary estate to his three children equally. However, there was a purported codicil to his will, which disinherited Debra. Following.. read more →

In 1998, Joan McFadden executed two powers of attorney (POAs) and a Living Will-Durable Health Care Power appointing John McFadden, her nephew, as her agent and attorney in fact, and Mary Sexton, her niece and John’s sister, as her alternative agent and attorney-in-fact. The two POAs stated that they would become effective upon the following.. read more →

Following their divorce, the decedent, John Garay, and his ex-wife owned a parcel of real property as equal tenants in common. Upon John’s death, the property was owned equally by John’s estate and the ex-wife. The co-executors of John’s estate were two of the Garays’ thirteen children. In 2013, the property was sold to one.. read more →

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 →

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 →

Following Joan McBride’s death, her sons from her first marriage asserted claims against her second husband Charlie, who had served as Joan’s power of attorney and executor of her will. Joan and Charlie married in 1997 and remained married until Joan’s death in 2016. The sons claimed Charlie unduly influenced Joan in connection with certain.. read more →

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 →

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 1992, Ann Mark created two irrevocable trusts for the benefit of her three children. In 1997, Jared Scharf became the successor trustee for the trusts, and used some of those assets to form a separate trust for each of Ms. Mark’s three children. Each of the trusts stated that they were governed by New.. read more →

When Helen Weste died in 2010, she was divorced with no children. In 1994, she had executed a will leaving her estate to charities and nieces and nephews. In 2001, Helen’s health began to fail. In April 2002, family members contacted her ex-husband (who was agent under her power of attorney), and he flew in.. read more →

The decedent, Evelyn Berry, had been married twice. At the time of her death, the two children of her first marriage (Darryl and Tara) were adults. The two children of her second marriage (Garrett and Brook) were minors. Evelyn’s will included a testamentary trust for the maintenance, support and education of Garrett and Brook. Darryl.. 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 →

An appeals court in Maryland has upheld the criminal conviction of a daughter who withdrew funds from a joint account with her father, holding that her father did not intend to make a gift when he put his daughter’s name on his bank account. Wagner v. State of Maryland. Marion Wagner was 84 years old,.. read more →

A New Jersey appeals court upheld a substantial fee award exceeding the amount in controversy for work preformed by law firm in a probate litigation when representing the estate of a man manipulated into modifying his will through undue influence because the wrongdoer’s actions contributed to, and greatly increased, the time and effort required to.. read more →