NEW JERSEY LAW NOW HOLDS EXECUTORS AND TRUSTEES POTENTIALLY LIABLE FOR DAMAGES

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate, Firm News

Punitive Damages Okayed in Probate Dispute Case: By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Probate Dispute attorney Our New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled under what circumstances punitive damages can be awarded against a fiduciary involved with Wills, Trusts, Probate proceedings and lifetime transfers.   A lawsuit was filed against a doctor who was alleged to have persuaded an elderly woman to transfer a large home in Spring Lake, New Jersey to him in lieu of the local Volunteer First Aide Squad who was the prior testamentary beneficiary under her Last Will and Testament.  In its analysis, the Court concluded that the remedy of punitive damages is limited to situations where an individual (who is essentially a stranger to …

Politically Correct Language is an Inappropriate Policy; Harassment Policy Violates Free Speech

HNW Firm News

When a male graduate student pursuing a degree in military history was inclined to speak his mind in classroom discussions about women in combat and women in the military more generally, he felt inhibited by the university’s broadly worded policy on sexual harassment. In pertinent part, the policy stated that “all forms of sexual harassment are prohibited, including… expressive, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual or gender-motivated nature, when… such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, educational performance, or status; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.”  The student sued the university to prohibit the enforcement of the policy on the ground that …

IRS Requires Estates of Small Business Owners to Post Bond(s) for Payment of Estate Tax Under Sec. 6166

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Estates holding a closely held business interest valued at greater than 35 percent of the adjusted gross estate can elect to pay estate taxes in installments. The rules also permit the IRS to require the estate to post a surety bond to secure the government’s interest in the deferred tax. The IRS has imposed a policy to make the bond mandatory and the issue was litigated in Tax Court. The Tax Court held that the IRS should apply the bond requirement on a discretionary case-by-case basis. In response, the IRS announced a revision of its policy (IRS Notice 2007-90, 2007-46 IRS 1003) and will apply various factors to determine the need to require a bond. Among the factors to be …

New Jersey Court Decides Important Case Involving Second Marriages, Premarital Agreements and Estate Death Issues

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APPELLATE DIVISION RULES ON SPOUSAL ELECTIVE SHARE RIGHTS UNDER A PREMARITAL CONTRACT The New Jersey Appellate Division on June 20, 2007, decided that a widow’s premarital waiver of an elective share to the Estate of her late husband was void when the underlying premarital contract was found unenforceable. In a case between a step-parent and the children of the decedent, the issued involved the enforceability of the steps-parents’ rights to inherit a portion of her late husband’s estate, even though she had waived her rights to the estate before her marriage. The Court found that because of the requirements of N.J.S.A. 3B:8-10 and N.J.S.A. 37:2-30, the premarital agreement could not be enforced and, therefore, plaintiff’s waiver was unenforceable. Fredrick P. …