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 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 →

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 →

In 1997, the decedent, Kathleen Boyer, executed a Last Will and Testament and a revocable trust. In the will, she directed that her residuary estate “pour over” into the revocable trust upon her death. She named herself as trustee of the revocable trust and, although she retained complete control of the trust assets during her.. 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 →

Decision-making capacity involves four (4) key abilities: the ability to understand information relevant to a decision, to retain the information relevant to the decision, to use the information relevant to the decision as part of the decision-making process and to communicate the decision once it is made. But since decision-making capacity involves mental abilities, how.. read more →

After an individual’s death, litigation regarding the decedent’s estate can arise in a variety of contexts. A common claim asserted in an estate litigation is that the decedent lacked “testamentary capacity” (the capacity to make a will). An individual’s mental capacity is judged based upon the transaction or act that the person is undertaking. One.. read more →

In September 2010, I blogged about the Matter of the Estate of Jewell B. Sykes case, in which the Appellate Division concluded that family ties, without more, do not create a “confidential relationship.” That blog post can be found here. In a February 16, 2012 decision in In the Matter of the Estate of John.. read more →

In the December 13, 2011 Estate of Sano Chancery Division case, the decedent’s wife had sued the decedent’s former employee (Ms. Chung) and that employee’s sister (Ms. Choi), claiming that they defrauded and unduly influenced the decedent to change a beneficiary designation of a $2.5 million life insurance policy. The policy had originally named the.. 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 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 →

As an elder law attorney, I receive many inquires from potential clients asking me to evaluate a potential lawsuit against a sibling involving a deceased parent’s estate plan. The claim typically seeks to set aside a deceased parent’s will as invalid, the result of undue influence by a sibling. Typically, the potential client seeking a.. read more →