2017 Elder and Disability Law Symposium ‘Elder and Disability Law Update’ to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. Westfield, NJ – October 15, 2015 — Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will participate in the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s 20th Annual Elder and Disability.. 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 2005, Stuart and Phyllis Rauch purchased a nursing home facility through an LLC they formed. Their son Eric convinced them to hire his wife, Shan Chin, as a bookkeeper. The business suffered financial losses; by 2008, its net losses exceeded $585,000. In 2009, after losing his job at a law firm, Eric approached his.. read more →

Plaintiff Christopher Hermanns had been an adjunct college professor. He claimed that he quit his job at his father’s request to work in his father’s linen rental business (the “Company”). His father was the sole shareholder of the business, although plaintiff served as the president for six years. According to plaintiff, during his years of.. read more →

On August 10, 2017, I presented at the 2017 Sophisticated Elder Law Program on Medicaid litigation strategies. I provided an overview of various strategies and tactics which have been used successfully in litigation involving Medicaid and other needs-based public benefits in state and federal courts and in administrative agencies. I prepared a paper and PowerPoint slides.. 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 →

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 →

In a case of first impression in New Jersey, Hon. Stephan C. Hansbury, Presiding Judge of the Chancery Court in Morris County permitted service of process through postings on Facebook. The court held that when service of process cannot be served on a defendant by traditional means, the rules of civil procedure permit an alternate.. read more →

For additional information concerning NJ elder law and special needs planning visit: https://vanarellilaw.com/legal-services/ read more →

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will present at the “2017 Sophisticated Elder Law” seminar given by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on August 10, 2017 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Vanarelli will provide an overview of strategies and tactics which have been used successfully in litigation.. 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 the death of the decedent’s brother, the decedent executed a new will omitting the brother’s child (“petitioner”) as.. 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 →

In 1992, Ann Mark created two irrevocable trusts for the benefit of her three children. In 1997, Jared Scharf became the successor trustee for the trusts, and used some of those assets to form a separate trust for each of Ms. Mark’s three children. Each of the trusts stated that they were governed by New.. read more →

In a 3-2 ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that attorneys can be held liable for counsel fees if they are found to have intentionally breached their fiduciary duty to non-clients. Peter Innes v. Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, Esq. Peter Innes and his wife, Maria Jose Carrascosa, were married in Spain in 1999, and Victoria, their.. 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 →

New Jersey Appellate Division rules prospective client’s correspondence with law office secretary who did not mention the matter to the attorney failed to establish an attorney-client relationship for purposes of a legal malpractice suit. Shapiro v. Rinaldi, Docket No. A-1753-14T4 (App. Div.,March 18, 2016) After falling in a pot hole on a city street and injuring.. 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 →

Happy New Year to clients, supporters, friends and readers. Last month, an article on this blog ranked the 25 most popular blog posts and website articles on the Vanarelli Law Office website in 2015. Since then, I decided to narrow my focus a little. In this post, I focused solely on blog posts, and created.. read more →

A lawyer who was found to have exerted undue influence over his mother must reimburse her estate for legal fees and costs, along with paying prejudgment interest from the date the estate monies were wrongfully taken, an appeals court ruled. Matter of the Estate of Sogliuzzo, Docket No. A-0882-14T2 (App. Div., December 17, 2015) Jane P… read more →

In 2003, Michael Yahatz opened a bank account. The following year, the bank was acquired by Bank of America (“BOA”) and the account was converted to a money market account. In 2005, Mr. Yahatz signed a BOA signature card, which included an acknowledgement that the account would be governed by BOA’s deposit agreement. The deposit.. read more →

On March 9, 2015, I blogged about an Appellate Division case holding that marriage does not create a presumptive right to a deceased spouse’s life insurance benefits. That blog can be found here. In In re Estate of Matchuk, the Appellate Division extended that holding to funds in a deceased spouse’s retirement accounts. In Matchuk,.. read more →

In this case, an Ocean County judge ruled that litigants in domestic violence cases who want to introduce evidence contained on their cell phones, such as texts, emails, social media messages, or audio/visual evidence, must first provide such evidence to the court and the adversary in tangible form, such as on a printout or a.. read more →

Nancy Gimenez-Watson was a resident of Brighton Gardens of Edison, an assisted living facility (ALF) operated by Sunrise Senior Living and its parent company. Mrs. Watson was in the “Reminiscence Plus” program for residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In April 2008, Mrs. Watson choked on her food. After a Brighton Gardens nurse administered.. read more →