On October 11, 2016, the decedent’s 2014 will was admitted to probate by her niece Frances (the “defendant-executor”). Therefore, pursuant to R. 4:85-1 of the New Jersey Rules of Court, a complaint seeking to contest the will should have been filed within 4 months of probate, or in this case, by February 10, 2017. However,.. read more →

The decedent’s eldest daughter Francine was the executrix of her estate. In 2011, the attorney for the executrix forwarded an informal accounting and Refunding Bond & Release (the “Refunding Bond”) to the executrix’s sister Susan (a beneficiary of the estate), who signed and returned the Refunding Bond the next day. Eight years later, Susan sued.. 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 →

The decedent’s daughter-in-law and grandchildren filed an action seeking to set aside the decedent’s 2016 will that disinherited them, and to admit a prior will and codicil. They claimed that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity to make the 2016 will, and that the decedent’s daughter had exercised undue influence to cause the decedent to disinherit.. read more →

Wayne Lippincott’s widow Anne probated a will dated two days before his death in 2015. The couple had been married 28 years, and each had grown children from prior marriages. Wayne’s children and grandchildren challenged the will, claiming undue influence, lack of capacity, forgery, and failure to comply with the formalities of execution. They sought.. 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, Kathryn Parker Blair, had executed a will bequeathing her estate to her siblings and directing that, if any of her siblings predeceased her, that sibling’s share would pass to his or her surviving children. After her brother died, the decedent executed a new will omitting the brother’s child (“petitioner”) as a beneficiary. The.. read more →

The decedent was an elderly man with no immediate family. His Last Will and Testament left his estate to a cousin, several charities and individuals, and to two Valley National Bank employees, including the defendant. One of the bank employees refused the bequest as unethical, based on the bank’s Employee Code of Conduct. The defendant.. 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 →

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 →

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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 →

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 defendant, who was the agent under his aunt’s power of attorney and executor of her estate, was sued by beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate for breach of fiduciary duty as her agent and executor. The power of attorney and will were executed in 1998. The plaintiffs alleged that, beginning in 2001, the defendant wrongfully.. 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 →

A U.S. district court ruled that a group of Medicaid applicants do not have a private right of action to sue the state for not issuing Medicaid eligibility determinations with 45 days and that the applicants were not denied due process by the delay. Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Inc. v. Randol  (U.S. Dist. Ct., D… read more →

Following Alice Malsberger’s death, her niece by marriage, Patricia White (the plaintiff in this lawsuit) found a handwritten document in Alice’s kitchen. It read: I’m Alice Malsberger – I wish to be cremated upon my death – along with my husband Joe – our ashes placed in a similar (illegible) and placed in mausoleum. I.. 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 →

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 →