Category Archives: Trusts

Court authorizes reimbursement of expenses from Special Needs Trust

   On August 21, 2012, in the Matter of Jennifer Rogiers, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, Docket No. A-0389-10T1, the Court addressed issues relating to the reimbursement of expenses from a Special Needs Trust.    Here, Jennifer Rogiers is a severely handicapped individual.  As a result of a medical malpractice lawsuit, a significant amount of funds were placed into a Special Needs Trust for Jennifer’s benefit.  At the time of her death, the balance of the trust fund was approximately $1.1 million.  Jennifer died intestate and without children.  The order creating the trust provided that upon Jennifer’s death any principal and undistributed income shall be paid to the intestate heirs.    Following Jennifer’s death, her father sought half of the balance as his intestate share.  Her mother sought reimbursement for expenses she incurred for services provided on Jennifer’s behalf during her lifetime.     Jennifer lived with her mother for her entire life.  Her mother attended to her needs and incurred substantial expenses.  The original order provided that her mother would be paid for caring for Jennifer.  The mother’s claim consisted of out-of-pocket expenses and for compensation for her care.  The trial judge granted the mother’s requests.     The … Continue reading

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The Doctrine of Probable Intent

On February 9, 2012, the trial Court decided In the Matter of the Markowitz Insurance Trust, Docket No. 12-00220, wherein the Court examined the Doctrine of Probable Intent. Here, the decedent’s created a Trust in 1993 which was funded with a Life Insurance policy on the lives of both decedents.  The Trust was set to terminate on January 1, 2005 if both parents had died by that date; however, the Trust document was not clear as to what would happen if one or both of the parents were alive as of that date. Plaintiffs seek a judgment immediately terminating the David Markowitz and Rosalie Markowitz Insurance Trust.  As Defendant Trustee contends, a literal construction of the language of the Trust Instrument suggests that the Trust will not terminate until both Plaintiffs have died and any descendants of the Plaintiffs entitled to a distribution have reached the age of 35 years.  As Plaintiffs point out, a literal application of the language would lead to the result that had both Grantors died on December 31, 2004, the Trust Property would have been distributed outright to Plaintiffs, but if either Grantor survived for one additional day, the Trust Property would have been held … Continue reading

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Appeal of Mediation Settlements

This month, we reviewed Marinaccio v. Dapkins, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, Docket No. A-3962-10T2, which is a case involving testamentary trusts established by the litigants’ parents and great-aunt. The beneficiaries of the trust filed an action to compel an accounting and distribution of remaining assets. The Court took a look at N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-18b which provides: Upon the granting of an order confirming, modifying or correcting an award, a judgment or decree shall be entered by the court in conformity therewith and be enforced as any other judgment or decree. There shall be no further appeal or review of the judgment or decree. Here, the parties agreed to mediate the case, and they reached and signed an agreement. Thereafter, it was necessary for one side to seek enforcement of the settlement. In this matter, the Court’s decision deals with the limited ability to appeal a mediation settlement once the Court has granted an order confirming, modifying, or correcting an award. N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-18b. The Court went on further to say that such a review would only be allowed in rare circumstances grounded in public policy, such as child support, rulings rendered by a biased judge and decisions that exceed … Continue reading

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Trustee Loots Trust Assets

In The Matter of the Trust under the Will of Antonia Zanengo, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, DOCKET NO. A-4997-09T3, the defendant, James V. Zanengo, a certified public accountant, was appointed as trustee under the Will of Antonia Zanengo, who died in 1994. The named trustee was the trust beneficiary’s nephew. The trust provided that income would be distributed to the decedent’s husband and that the decedent’s grandchildren were the ultimate beneficiaries of the trust. The trust, which was initially funded with about $320,000.00, had virtually no assets for the ultimate distribution to the grandchildren. An action for an accounting was

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