Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
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Edison, NJ 08817
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Objector to Probate accounting must show breach of fiduciary duty

In the Matter of J.F., N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (14 pp.) Sole beneficiary under a will appealed the probate order approving the settlement of the first and final formal accounting of the guardian who managed the incapacitated deceased’s estate during her final years. Beneficiary alleged that guardian failed to list a Florida condominium at a reasonable price, objected to the upkeep and repair charges for the property, objected to the costs for trips to Florida, argued accounting fees were unreasonable and argued guardian’s income and commission should be forfeit for her “willful gross misconduct.” The trial judge rejected all of the beneficiary’s exceptions and beneficiary appealed. The court found that there was no evidence to show a breach of fiduciary duty in guardian’s handling of the Florida property and the trips to Florida were necessary to assess and marshal her ward’s assets and were for the ward’s benefit. Additionally, N.J. law granted a fiduciary the authority to employ accountants. Furthermore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding counsel fees to guardian.

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