Estate Case Update From The NJ State Bar Association

Case update from the NJ State Bar Association: 
38-2-5185

In the Matter of the Estate of Mary Jane Lynch, N.J. Super. App. Div. (Suter, J.A.D.) (19 pp.)

Decedent executed a will and declaration of trust wherein her personal property was to be equally distributed to her two children, appellant-daughter and appellee-son. The residuary estate was left to the family trust and the assets there were divided equally between the siblings.

Following her death, the siblings began to disagree. Both moved the probate court for orders to permit the sale of the house and for a full accounting.

The trial court subsequently issued eight total orders prior to closing the estate. On appeal, appellant contended the trial court erred by not conducting an evidentiary hearing regarding appellee’s handling of stock, the checks written to himself and family members as well other alleged malfeasance.

With the exception of the calculation of the surcharges, the court found no merit in any of appellant’s contentions. The court noted that appellant’s request to remove appellee as executor was not proper as she failed to file such request in a summary manner pursuant to R. 4:67.

As such, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by not conducting an evidentiary hearing on non-probate assets or claims that appellee should be removed as executor.

Further, appellant failed to include her requested exceptions to the accounting in the record and the trial court properly resolved all issues that were before it.

Finally, the court held the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney’s fees for the estate’s counsel without the requested apportionment.

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