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 →

Edna M. Fone, a widow, had two children, Richard J. Fone, Jr. and Katherine Fone. Following Edna’s death, Richard sought to probate a 2009 Will allegedly signed by Edna which omitted Katherine as a beneficiary. In response, Katherine filed a lawsuit, seeking to invalidate the purported Will, alleging Richard had exerted undue influence over their.. read more →

Although the decedent had four children, she left her entire estate to two of the children. However, the will did not mention her two omitted daughters, or the fact that they were being omitted. One of the omitted daughters sued, claiming the will was the result of undue influence or lack of testamentary capacity. The.. read more →

The decedent, Alfred Finocchiaro, Sr., died in 2011, predeceased by his wife. The decedent had two sons (Alfred Jr. and Frank) and a daughter. His son Alfred Jr. had predeceased him, having committed suicide on December 29, 2006. The decedent’s daughter survived him, but died before the trial in this case began. The decedent resided.. read more →

This appeal concerned the trial court’s ruling that a 2013 deed was valid. The appellants, who were appointed co-executors of the decedent’s will, claimed that the deed was the product of undue influence. The decedent had owned a condominium and, in 2012, she executed a deed conveying that interest to herself and her niece, as.. 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 →

The decedent, Dr. Evan Merritt London, was single with no children. He executed a number of wills and trusts over the years, with the trusts as the primary vehicle for disposing of his estate. He would make periodic trust revisions in which his beneficiaries (including his niece and nephew, his best friend, and various charities).. read more →

A court in Australia accepted an unsent, draft text message on a mobile phone as an official Last Will and Testament. Nichol v. Nichol The decedent, Mark Nichol, a 55 year old man, committed suicide in 2016. The decedent’s mobile phone was found on a work bench in the shed where the deceased’s body was found.. read more →

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 the Matter of the Estate of Anna Fabics involved multiple lawsuits, motions, and other pleadings filed by the decedent’s son Joseph against Joseph’s brother Laszlo. Their mother’s will left her residuary estate to her two sons equally, and appointed Laszlo as executor. The will directed the executor to sell all property of the estate.. read more →

The testator, Harold Becker, executed a Last Will and Testament leaving his estate to his youngest son, Brandon (the child of the Mr. Becker’s second marriage), to the exclusion of his older sons, Scott and Stuart (the children of his first marriage). Mr. Becker’s will appointed his second wife (the couple were divorced but later.. read more →

In McDermott-Guber v. Estate of McDermott, parents deeded a one-half property interest in a vacant parcel to their daughter in 1986. The daughter and her husband began building a home on the property. According to the daughter, after her father died and left her mother as the sole owner of the remaining one-half interest, her.. read more →

Plaintiff Neil Epstein sued Barbara Epstein Petka, claiming that, as a result of her fraud and misrepresentation, the decedent had removed the plaintiff as a beneficiary of his will and living trust. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss in lieu of an answer, claiming that the complaint failed to state a claim pursuant to.. read more →

Before his death, Arthur Zito was the subject of a contested guardianship litigation, in which his sons Arthur Jr. and David had sought to become Mr. Zito’s guardian. (A third son, Stephen, was not a party to this litigation.) After the court appointed Mr. Zito’s daughter Laura as guardian, Arthur Jr. and David moved to.. 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 he died in 2012, the decedent, retired physician Henry D. Rubenstein, left his insolvent estate to his second wife and her nephew. Although he and his second wife had a son, his will explicitly left no bequest to that son. The second wife claimed that the decedent’s extensive health problems had depleted the estate.. 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 →

Vicinio v. Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks, LLC is a legal malpractice action stemming from an underlying family dispute involving the Estate of Philomena Vicinio. Philomena Vicinio’s health began to deteriorate after her husband’s death. Thereafter, Mrs. Vicinio attempted to reside with her daughter, Roseann, on several occasions, with each attempt short-lived because of.. read more →

In an appeal from a trial court’s decision to reduce the counsel fees sought by a litigant, the appellate division ruled that counsel fees, awarded to both proponent and contestant in a will dispute at the discretion of the trial court, are disturbed on appeal “only on the rarest of occasions.” In re Estate of Riordan,.. read more →

Plaintiff, Emmaline O’Hara, and defendant, John B. O’Hara, Jr., were married in 1955. They had two children, Robin, who is deceased, and Kevin, from whom John was estranged. John acquired approximately $6 million in assets during the marriage. In 2012, Emmaline filed for divorce. At that time, Emmaline was 80 years old, and had been.. read more →

In this will contest involving the doctrine of probable intent, Hon. Robert P. Contillo, P.J.Ch. ruled that a court cannot alter the language of a trust that is plain and unambiguous even when extrinsic evidence strongly suggests that the trust language is not what the settlor intended. Violet and Joseph Nelson had three children: Jacob.. 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 →

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 →

The decedent, William Anton, was survived by his wife, with whom he was in the midst of divorce proceedings, and by his three children. A few weeks before his death, Mr. Anton, along with his son-in-law Keith, met with an estate attorney. After Mr. Anton told the attorney that he did not know where his.. read more →