Louis Keppel hired Donna Thomas as a home health aide. Thomas was employed by Angela’s Angels Home Healthcare and Angela’s Angels, LLC. Keppel died intestate. Dolores Guttmann and Thomas Loikith were appointed co-administrators of his estate. Guttmann and Loikith discovered that Thomas misappropriated 192 checks from Louis Keppel over a two-year period. In that regard,.. 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 →

At the time of Carol Rankins’ death in 2015, she had been married to Clyde Rankins for 28 years. She had one adopted daughter and two daughters from a prior relationship. The decedent’s surviving spouse was granted letters of administration of her intestate estate. One of her surviving daughters, Ursula, later filed a complaint seeking.. read more →

The decedent was killed in a motor vehicle accident. After his death, his father was appointed as personal representative of his estate, to administer the non-probate estate and to prosecute a wrongful death action. Plaintiff was the biological mother of the decedent’s two sons. She never married the decedent, and she raised the children on.. 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 →

A New Jersey appellate court ruled that a court can alter the plain and unambiguous language of a trust when extrinsic evidence suggests that the trust language is not what the settlor intended. In the Matter of the Trust of Violet Nelson, Deceased, Docket No. A-4004-15T1 (App. Div. March 28, 2018). Violet and Joseph Nelson had.. 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 →

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 →