Articles Posted by James K. Estabrook

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Westfield, NJ, August 15, 2019: Ten attorneys with the law firm of Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C., were recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020, which identified each as a top legal talent in their respective practice areas.

In addition, Lindabury attorney Edward J. Frisch was named the Best Lawyers® 2020 Litigation – Construction Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Newark.

The following Lindabury attorneys were named as Best Lawyers honorees:

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As our clients age they often tell us they do not feel comfortable with their ability to continue to manage their financial affairs. They also express the unfounded fear that upon their death all their bank accounts will be frozen for months on end with no ability for anyone to access their funds to satisfy their obligations after death for the care of their home or loved ones. The common step taken by many is to put a family member or trusted friend on their accounts as joint owner so that in the case of a disability or death, funds will be readily accessible to satisfy the client’s obligations without interference.

Unfortunately, this step, although well-intentioned, has sometimes resulted in significant confusion, litigation and costs to the client’s estate because the creation of the joint account and the transfer of those assets to the surviving joint owner at death were not clearly understood by the elderly client or were not properly explained to her by the custodian of the account.

This miscalculation was recently demonstrated in an Appellate Division case, In the Matter of the Estate of Jones, No. A-2557-16T2, 2018 WL 4471686 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Sept. 19, 2018). Subsequent to the death of her husband, Erna M. Jones visited her investment broker with her middle daughter, Barbara, to open a new account distinct from the one she held jointly with her husband. Mrs. Jones executed a new account application that identified her daughter Barbara as a second party, and the box was checked that the account was “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship.” Subsequent to this account opening, Mrs. Jones managed the account, paid her bills and handled her investments with the representative of the brokerage company. At her death in 2015, her daughter Barbara claimed the account as hers as the surviving joint tenant. Barbara’s older brother, David, objected and filed a Complaint under New Jersey’s Multi-Party Deposit Account Act (“MPDAA”) alleging that the account was not held with right of survivorship but was merely a “convenience account,” and that all money in the account was to be distributed equally amongst Mrs. Jones’ surviving three children. Mrs. Jones’ Last Will and Testament provided that her estate was to be divided equally amongst her children and throughout her life, David stated, she had always treated her three children equally. David further alleged that Barbara had utilized undue influence in getting her mother to name her as a joint owner on the account.

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Lindabury’s Wills, Trusts & Estates practice group has just published its latest edition of the Planning Matters newsletter. This publication is a complementary resource shared with clients and professional service providers working in the areas of estate planning and tax. Planning Matters is produced and distributed seasonally and provides updates and analysis of recent developments in estate planning, administration and tax law.

Topics covered in the Planning Matters Spring 2019 edition include:

  • Funeral & Disposition Representative
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Westfield, New Jersey, November 2, 2018 – Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C. has earned top rankings in the 2019 edition of Best Law Firms, published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. The firm received a first tier metropolitan ranking in Arbitration, Insurance Law, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Trusts & Estates and Trusts & Estates Law. Lindabury also was recognized for its Labor and Employment Litigation and Management Counseling practice as well as its Mediation services.

The Honorable John M. Boyle, former Presiding Judge, Superior Court, Chancery Division, Union County, and the Honorable Ross R. Anzaldi, former Presiding Judge, Superior Court, Civil Division, Union County, practice in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group.

Jay Lavroff, Steven Backfisch and Andrew Gibbs practice in the Insurance Law Group. They represent insurance carriers in matters concerning coverage and defense of errors and omissions, construction defect, director and officer liability and employment practices liability among others.

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Years of experience in administering estates have taught us that the best way to avoid litigation after death is to plan during life. We have come to identify several “red flags” that, when not addressed during estate planning, are more often than not resolved in a courtroom. Not only does this mean that a judge, rather than the client, is ultimately deciding how the client’s property is disposed of, but the process can be lengthy, emotional, and expensive. With the possibility that attorney’s fees will be paid before any property is distributed to the family members, the lawyers may become beneficiaries of the estate when it is contested.

Unequal distribution of assets amongst children.

Clients who want to distribute their property to their children unequally are almost always asking for a fight. They may want to do this because they are estranged from a child or because they believe that one child “needs” more than another. The slighted child, however, may not agree with mom or dad’s decision. When this comes as a surprise to a child after the client’s death – and the parent is no longer here to explain the thought process and to act as mediator amongst the children – the slighted child feels like his or her only recourse is to hire an attorney.

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Westfield, New Jersey, November 2, 2017 – Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C. has earned top rankings in the 2018 edition of Best Law Firms, published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. The firm received a first tier metropolitan ranking in Arbitration, Insurance Law, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Trusts & Estates and Trusts & Estates Law. Lindabury also was recognized for its Labor and Employment Litigation and Management Counseling practice as well as its Mediation services.

The Honorable John M. Boyle, former Presiding Judge, Superior Court, Chancery Division, Union County, and the Honorable Ross R. Anzaldi, former Presiding Judge, Superior Court, Civil Division, Union County, practice in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group.

Jay Lavroff, Steven Backfisch and Andrew Gibbs practice in the Insurance Law Group. They represent insurance carriers in matters concerning coverage and defense of errors and omissions, construction defect, director and officer liability and employment practices liability among others.

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Westfield, New Jersey, November 2, 2016 – Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C. has earned top rankings in the 2017 edition of Best Law Firms, published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. The firm received a first tier metropolitan ranking in Arbitration, Insurance Law, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Trusts & Estates and Trusts & Estates Law. Lindabury also was recognized for its Labor and Employment Litigation and Management Counseling practice as well as its Mediation services.

The Honorable John M. Boyle, former Presiding Judge, Superior Court, Chancery Division, Union County, and the Honorable Ross R. Anzaldi, former Presiding Judge, Superior Court, Civil Division, Union County, practice in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group.

Jay Lavroff, Steven Backfisch and Andrew Gibbs practice in the Insurance Law Group. They represent insurance carriers in matters concerning coverage and defense of errors and omissions, construction defect, director and officer liability and employment practices liability among others.

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