Author Archives: Kelaher, Van and Moriarty

Mr. Peter Van Dyke Named Chairman of the Community Medical Center Foundation

Mr. Peter Van Dyke has been recently elected for a two year term as Chairman of the Community Medical Center Foundation. Mr. Van Dyke started his term in the beginning of January 2016, and is honored to take the position and serve as Chairman. Continue reading

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More on Undue Influence & The Doctrine of Probable Intent

On March 5, 2013, the Law Division issued its decision in the Matter of the Estate of Edith Weiner. Continue reading

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Do you need a Will? Yes!

According to Forbes.com, 65% of Americans do not have a Will. We have heard many varying reasons why an individual might forgo the estate planning process. These reasons include: expense; they don’t have assets to protect; they simply trust a particular person ‘to take care of it’; and, in some instances, they have a sincere belief that they will die after making a Will. Despite these misconceptions, making a Will is a very important task that EVERYONE – no matter your age – should do. Also, doing so is not overly complicated or expensive, nor is there a proven correlation between making a Will and dying! There are many reasons to make a Will, but here are a few to consider: ENSURE that your property will go to the people you want, in the way you want, and when you want. MAKE the administration of your estate run smoothly. CHOOSE a person to administer your estate. REDUCE estate taxes. APPOINT a person to take your place as the guardian of your minor children. *An additional, special consideration is that in the past 5 years, the number of unmarried couples has jumped, says the National Marriage Project’s 2011 report. There are … Continue reading

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Appellate Division reversed trial court’s decision to invoke in terrorem clause and assess counsel fees

On February 1, 2013, in the Matter of the Estate of Lucille Sand, Docket No. A-4524-10T4, the New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision as to the invocation of the in terrorem clause of the Decedent’s will and assessment of counsel fees. By way of background, the Decedent executed a Will on December 4, 2002and a codicil on February 2, 2005.  The Decedent died on March 12,  leaving four children.  The Plaintiff brought suit naming her three siblings as Defendants, and also filed a caveat alleging undue influence, fraud, lack of testamentary capacity and forgery.  Two siblings filed to have the Will admitted to probate and to be appointed co-executrices.  The probate judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and ordered the Will and codicil admitted to probate. The Plaintiff then filed a nine-count Complaint in the Family Part using fictitious names for all the parties.  She alleged that her mother’s will breached a prenuptial agreement, sought past and present child support and alleged embezzlement and fraud.  She also alleged her mother stole and misused funds left to her by her father and grandmother.  She alleged that one sister committed a tort because of an arrest and conviction … Continue reading

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When an issue becomes moot, dismissal is appropriate no matter the stage of the litigation

On January 28, 2013, In the Matter of Fred Rizzo, A-2997-11T4, the Appellate Division considered the issue of attorneys’ fees in a guardianship action. By way of background, in 2007, Fred Rizzo appointed his son, Douglas power of attorney.  In May 2011, the Bergen County Board of Social Services filed a Complaint for guardianship.  The court appointed an attorney to represent Fred Rizzo, and that attorney thereafter incurred reasonable fees.  Ultimately, the court appointed Douglas as guardian for his father.  The court also ordered that Douglas was personally liable for his father’s attorneys’ fees. In its decision, the court relied on R.4:86-4, which states: “The compensation of … appointed counsel … may be fixed by the court to be paid out of the estate of the alleged incapacitated person or in such other manner as the court shall direct.” R. 4:86-4(e). Fred owned no liquid assets.  His only asset was the equity in his house in which he, Douglas, and Douglas’s family resided.  His only income was his monthly Social Security payment. The court stated it would be inequitable to force his attorney to wait until Fred’s death if the estate did not have sufficient funds to pay his fees. … Continue reading

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