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 →

Linda Hall was the executrix of her mother’s estate. Hall had initially had a 2005 will admitted to probate. When Hall’s sister, Carol Polak-Reid (“Reid”) filed a complaint alleging that their mother had executed another will in 2011, Hall represented that she had attempted to have the 2011 will admitted, but the surrogate had rejected.. read more →

In an August 29, 2013 unpublished decision, the Appellate Division considered and affirmed the trial court’s denial of a nursing home’s motion to dismiss a personal injury and wrongful death claim brought by the estate of a former resident. Levonas v. Regency Heritage Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Docket No. A-4995-11T4, Aug. 29, 2013). In Levonas, the.. read more →

Justice Laura L. Jacobson, a  New York trial judge, held that a trustee of a special needs trust breached its fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiary and ordered reimbursement of nearly $180,000 that was misspent on private caregivers, cab rides, and medications that could have been obtained from needs-based government sources.  Liranzo v. LI Jewish.. read more →

What is Probate? “Probate” is the name of the process which permits an Executor to transfer assets as directed by a deceased person, or decedent, in his or her Last Will and Testament to recipients, or beneficiaries, according to the terms of the Will. The deceased person who made the Will is called the “testator.”.. read more →

A New Jersey court has held that a co-executor’s “unbridled belief she could act unilaterally in administering the decedent’s estate without the need for consent from the co-executrix … [may] amount[] to a breach of the [co-executor’s] … fiduciary duty [and] … [constitute] cause for her removal.” In the Matter of the Estate of Albert.. read more →

I compiled my selections for the top ten (10) New Jersey estate and probate litigation / will contest cases in 2010. For those cases I previously blogged about, a link to the blog post as well as the case is included below. (1)    Matter of the Estate of Jewell B. Sykes, Docket No. A-1109-09T2 (App… read more →