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 →

The decedent’s godchildren sought to probate a purported will that the decedent had neither reviewed nor signed. The decedent, who was 90 and in fragile health, had had a telephone conversation with an attorney she had never met. Based upon that conversation, the attorney drafted the decedent’s 17-page will. The decedent never had the opportunity.. read more →

After Mrs. Dreher died and her son probated her will, her daughter filed a complaint objecting to the probate. The plaintiff claimed that the will was the product of undue influence, and that her mother lacked testamentary capacity to sign the will. After four days of trial, the parties settled the case, and the terms.. 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 →

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 decedent’s wife predeceased him. Thereafter, in 2009 the decedent executed a new will leaving his estate to his wife’s niece (the defendant). At the defendant’s suggestion, the decedent also executed a revocable living trust. Shortly thereafter, he became concerned about losing control of his assets, and he retained a new lawyer to draft a.. read more →

Anthony F. Cordasco and his wife, Louise, were living in a condominium when Louise became ill in late 2012. The Cordascos decided to sell the condominium and move in with their daughter, Roseann Altiero, who agreed to care for Louise. Anthony and Louise signed a listing agreement in January 2013 and placed the condominium on.. read more →

For additional information concerning special needs trusts and disability planning, visit: NJ Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning read more →

Karen Horbatt was Theodore A. Kaczmarek’s niece by marriage. After Karen’s aunt died, Theodore executed a will in 2009 leaving Karen his entire estate, valued at over four million dollars. At the same time, Theodore executed a revocable living trust agreement, designating Karen as the sole trustee. Both documents were drafted by a lawyer procured.. read more →

The decedent was estranged from her daughter Cheryl, the defendant, for almost 25 years, but they reconciled shortly before her death, when the decedent was ill. In 1996, the decedent and her husband had executed wills and a trust, excluding Cheryl from their estates. In 2006, the decedent and her husband consulted with a special.. read more →

Robert B. Cohen was a man of “great wealth.” At the time of his death at age 86, he had suffered for years from a progressive form of Parkinson’s disease. His son James filed a complaint to declare that Cohen’s 2009 will, as later modified, was valid. In turn, Cohen’s granddaughter Samantha filed a complaint.. read more →

Gregory Bock, Jr. was born two months after his mother married Gregory Bock, Sr. However, Gregory Jr. was the result of his mother’s previous relationship with Douglas Castellano. Gregory Sr. and Castellano both knew that Castellano was the biological father; however, the birth certificate identified Gregory Sr. as the father. When Gregory Jr. was approximately.. 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 →

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 had five children, and his will divided his residuary estate among them. He left 25% of the residuary estate to his daughter Eileen. He also directed that Eileen’s bequest was to include the family home, which was to be a credit toward her bequest; in the event that the “total net estate” was.. read more →

During his relationship with life partner Marc Coleman, the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament naming Coleman as the executor and primary beneficiary of his estate. The couple later ended their relationship. Thereafter, the decedent entered into a new relationship with Kirston Baylock. The decedent later died unexpectedly. At issue was a hand-written codicil.. 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 →

In 2006, the William Mallas executed a Last Will and Testament dividing his estate equally between his brother and niece. In March 2008, he signed a power of attorney designating his neighbor, Frank Picciolo, as his agent. In November 2008, Mr. Mallas executed a new POA again naming Frank as his agent, and a new.. 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 →

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 →