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Monday, January 30, 2017

ACME Fall Downs NJ

ACME Fall Downs


     Kenneth Vercammen & Associates Law Office helps people injured due to the negligence of others. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. The insurance companies will not help. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation if you are injured in an accident and suffer a Serious Injury.
Sometimes, store customers are injured in fall downs caused by wet and slippery floors or failure by stores to clean up broken or fallen items. No one plans on being injured in an accident, whether it is a car accident, fall down or other situation. Speak with a personal injury attorney immediately to retain all your rights. The stores are responsible for the maintenance of their premises which are used by the public. It is the duty of the store to inspect and keep said premises in a safe condition and free from any and all pitfalls, obstacles or traps that would likely cause injury to persons lawfully thereon.
It is further the duty of the store to properly and adequately inspect, maintain and keep the library premises free from danger to life, limb and property of persons lawfully and rightfully using same and to warn of any such dangers or hazards thereon. You may be lawfully upon the premises as a business invitee in the exercise of due care on your part, and solely by reason of the omission, failure and default of the store, be caused to fall down If the store did not perform their duty to plaintiff to maintain the premises in a safe, suitable and proper condition, you may be entitled to make a claim. If severely injured, you can file a claim for damages, together with interest and costs of suit. Injured people can demand trial by jury.
The following information is taken from the old model jury charges dealing with fall downs by store customers:
INVITEE - DEFINED AND GENERAL DUTY OWED
An invitee is one who is permitted to enter or remain on land (or premises) for a purpose of the owner (or occupier). He/She enters by invitation, expressed or implied. The owner (or occupier) of the land (or premises) who by invitation, expressed or implied, induced persons to come upon his/her premises, is under a duty to exercise ordinary care to render the premises reasonably safe for the purposes embraced in the invitation. Thus, he/she must exercise reasonable care for the invitees safety. He/She must take such steps as are reasonable and prudent to correct or give warning of hazardous conditions or defects actually known to him/her (or his/her employees), and of hazardous conditions or defects which he/she (or his/her employees) by the exercise of reasonable care, could discover.
BUSINESS INVITEE FALL DOWNS:
The basic duty of a proprietor of premises to which the public is invited for business purposes of the proprietor is to exercise reasonable care to see that one who enters his/her premises upon that invitation has a reasonably safe place to do that which is within the scope of the invitation.
Notes:
(1) Business Invitee: The duty owed to a business invitee is no different than the duty owed to other invitees.
(2) Construction Defects, Intrinsic and Foreign Substances: The rules dealt with in this section and subsequent sections apply mainly to those cases where injury is caused by transitory conditions, such as falls due to foreign substances or defects resulting from wear and tear or other deterioration of premises which were originally constructed properly.
Where a hazardous condition is due to defective construction or construction not in accord with applicable standards it is not necessary to prove that the owner or occupier had actual knowledge of the defect or would have become aware of the defect had he/she personally made an inspection. In such cases the owner is liable for failing to provide a safe place for the use of the invitee.
Thus, in Brody v. Albert Lipson & Sons, 17 N.J. 383 (1955), the court distinguished between a risk due to the intrinsic quality of the material used (calling it an intrinsic substance case) and a risk due to a foreign substance or extra-normal condition of the premises. There the case was submitted to the jury on the theory that the terrazzo floor was peculiarly liable to become slipper when wet by water and that defendant should have taken precautions against said risk. The court appears to reject defendants contention that there be notice, direct or mputed by proof of adequate opportunity to discover the defective condition. 17 N.J. at 389.
It may be possible to reconcile this position with the requirement of constructive notice of an unsafe condition by saying that an owner of premises is chargeable with knowledge of such hazards in construction as a reasonable inspection by an appropriate expert would reveal. See: Restatement to Torts 2d, §343, Comment f, pp. 217-218 (1965), saying that a proprietor is required to have superior knowledge of the dangers incident to facilities furnished to invitees.
Alternatively, one can view these cases as within the category of defective or hazardous conditions created by defendant or by an independent contractor for which defendant would be liable (see introductory note above).
Cases:
Bozza v. Vornado, Inc., 42 N.J. 355, 359 (1954) (slip and fall on sticky, slimy substance in self-service cafeteria which inferably fell to the floor as an incident of defendants mode of operation).
Buchner v. Erie Railroad Co., 17 N.J. 283, 285-286 (1955) (trip over curbstone improperly illuminated).
Brody v. Albert Lifson & Sons, 17 N.J. 383, 389 (1955) (slip and fall on wet composition floor in store).
Bohn v. Hudson & Manhattan R. Co., 16 N.J. 180, 185 (1954) (slip on smooth stairway in railroad station).
Williams v. Morristown Memorial Hospital, 59 N.J. Super. 384, 389 (App. Div. 1960) (fall over low wire fence separating grass plot from sidewalk).
Nary v. Dover Parking Authority, 58 N.J. super. 222, 226-227 (App. Div.
1959) (fall over bumper block in parking lot).
Parmenter v. Jarvis Drug Store, Inc., 48 N.J. Super. 507, 510 (App. Div. 1957) (slip and fall on wet linoleum near entrance of store on rainy day).
Nelson v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 48 N.J. Super. 300 (App. Div. 1958) (inadequate lighting of parking lot of supermarket, fall over unknown object).
Barnard v. Trenton-New Brunswick Theatre Co., 32 N.J. Super. 551, 557 (App. Div. 1954) (fall over ladder placed in theatre lobby by workmen of independent contractor).
Ratering v. Mele, 11 N.J. Super. 211, 213 (App. Div. 1951) (slip and fall on littered stairway at entrance to restaurant).
DUTY TO INSPECT OWED TO INVITEE The duty of an owner (or occupier) of land (or premises) to make the place reasonably safe for the proper use of an invitee requires the owner or occupier to make reasonable inspection of the land (or premises) to discover hazardous conditions.
Cases:
Handelman v. Cox, 39 N.J. 95, 111 (1963) (salesman showing merchandise to employees of defendant fell down cellar stairway partially obscured by carton)
NOTICE OF PARTICULAR DANGER AS CONDITION OF LIABILITY If the jury members find that the land (or premises) was not in a reasonably safe condition, then, in order to recover, plaintiff must show either that the owner (or occupier) knew of the unsafe condition for a period of time prior to plaintiffs injury sufficient to permit him/her in the exercise of reasonable care to have corrected it, or that the condition had existed for a sufficient length of time prior to plaintiffs injury that in the exercise of reasonable care the owner (or occupier) should have discovered its existence and corrected it.
Cases:
Tua v. Modern Homes, Inc., 64 N.J. Super. 211 (App. Div. 1960), affirmed, 33 N.J. 476 (1960) (slip and fall on small area of slipper waxlike substance in store); Parmenter v. Jarvis Drug Store, Inc., 48 N.J. Super. 507, 510 (App. Div. 1957) (slip and fall on wet linoleum near entrance of store on rainy day); Ratering v. Mele, 11 N.J. Super. 211, 213 (App. Div. 1951) (slip and fall on littered stairway at entrance to restaurant).
Notes:
(1) The above charge is applicable to those cases where the defendant is not at fault for the creation of the hazard of where the hazard is not to be reasonably anticipated as an incident of defendants mode of operation. See: Maugeri v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 357 F.2d 202 (3rd Cir. 1966) (dictum).
(2) An employees knowledge of the danger is imputed to his/her employer, the owner of premises. Handelman v. Cox, 39 N.J. 95, 104 (1963).
NOTICE NOT REQUIRED WHEN CONDITION IS CAUSED BY DEFENDANT
If the jury members find that the land (or premises) was not in a reasonably safe condition and that the owner (or occupier) or his/her agent, servant or employee created that condition through his/her own act or omission, then, in order for plaintiff to recover, it is not necessary for the jury members also to find that the owner (or occupier) had actual or constructive notice of the particular unsafe condition.
Cases:
Smith v. First National Stores, 94 N.J. Super. 462 (App. Div. 1967)(slip and fall on greasy stairway caused by sawdust tracked onto the steps by defendants employees); Plaga v. Foltis, 88 N.J. Super. 209 (App. Div. 1965) (slip and fall on fat in restaurant area traversed by bus boy); Torda v. Grand Union Co., 59 N.J. Super. 41 (App. Div. 1959) (slip and fall in self-service market on wet floor near vegetable bin). Also see: Thompson v. Giant Tiger Corp., 118 N.J.L. 10 (E. & A. 1937); Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., 47 N.J. 426 (1956); Lewin v. Orbachs, Inc., 14 N.J. Super. 193 (App. Div. 1951); Maugeri v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 357 F.2d 202 (3rd Cir. 1966).
BURDEN OF GOING FORWARD
In Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., 47 N.J. 426, 429-430 (1966), the court held that where string beans are sold from bins on a self-service basis there is a probability that some will fall or be dropped on the floor either by defendants employees or by customers. Since plaintiff would not be in a position to prove whether a particular string bean was dropped by an employee or another customer (or how long it was on the floor) a showing of this type of operation is sufficient to put the burden on the defendant to come forward with proof that defendant did what was reasonably necessary (made periodic inspections and clean-up) in order to protect a customer against the risk of injury likely to be generated by defendants mode of operation. Presumably, however, the burden of proof remains on plaintiff to prove lack of reasonable care on defendants part. If defendant fails to produce evidence of reasonable care, the jury may infer that the fault was probably his. See also: Bozza, supra, 42 N.J. at 359.
Whether or not defendant has furnished an invitee with a reasonably safe place for his/her use may depend upon the obviousness of the condition claimed to be hazardous and the likelihood that the invitee would realize the hazard and protect himself/herself against it. Even though an unsafe condition may be observable by an invitee the jury members may find that an owner (or occupier) of premises is negligent, nevertheless, in maintaining said condition when the condition presents an unreasonable hazard to invitees in the circumstances of a particular case. If the jury members find that defendant was negligent in maintaining an unsafe condition, even though the condition would be obvious to an invitee, the fact that the condition was obvious should be considered by the jury members in determining whether the invitee was contributorily negligent (a) in proceeding in the face of a known hazard or (b) in the manner in which the invitee proceeded in the face of a known hazard.
DISTRACTION OR FORGETFULNESS OF INVITEE
Even if the jury members find that plaintiff knew of the existence of the unsafe or defective condition, or that the unsafe or defective condition was so obvious that defendant had a reasonable basis to expect that an invitee would realize its existence, plaintiff may still recover if the circumstances or conditions are such that plaintiffs attention would be distracted so that he/she would not realize or would forget the location or existence of the hazard or would fail to protect himself/herself against it.
Thus, even where a hazardous condition is obvious the jury members must first determine whether in the circumstances the defendant was negligent in permitting the condition to exist. Even if defendant was negligent, however, if plaintiff knew that a hazardous condition existed, plaintiff could not recover if he/she was contributorily negligent, that is to say, plaintiff could not recover if he/she did not act as a reasonably prudent person either by proceeding in the face of a known danger or by not using reasonable care in the manner in which he/she proceeded in the face of the danger. In considering whether plaintiff was contributorily negligent the jury members may consider that even persons of reasonable prudence in certain circumstances may have their attention distracted so that they would not realize or remember the existence of a hazardous condition and would fail to protect themselves against it. Mere lapse of memory or inattention or mental abstraction at the critical moment is not an adequate excuse. One who is inattentive or forgetful of a known and obvious danger is contributorily negligent unless there is some condition or circumstance which would distract or divert the mind or attention of a reasonably prudent person.
Note:
In McGrath v. American Cyanamid Co., 41 N.J. 272 (1963), the employee of a subcontractor was killed when a plank comprising a catwalk over a deep trench up-ended causing him to fall. The court held that even if the decedent had appreciated the danger that fact by itself would not have barred recovery. The court said if the danger was one which due care would not have avoided, due care might, nevertheless, require notice of warning unless the danger was known or obvious. If the danger was created by a breach of defendants duty of care, that negligence would not be dissipated merely because the decedent knew of the danger.Negligence would remain, but decedents knowledge would affect the issue of contributory negligence. The issue would remain whether decedent acted as a reasonably prudent person in view of the known risk, either by incurring the known risk (by staying on the job), or by the manner in which he proceeded in the face of that risk.
In Zentz v. Toop, 92 N.J. Super. 105, 114-115 (App. Div. 1966), affirmed o.b., 50 N.J. 250 (1967), the employee of a roofing contractor, while carrying hot tar, tripped over a guide wire supporting an air conditioning tower on a roof. The court held that even if plaintiff had observed the wires or if they were so obvious that he/she should have observed them, the question remained whether, considering the hazard and the work of the employee, he/she was entitled to more than mere knowledge of the existence of the wires or whether he/she was entitled to a warning by having the wires flagged or painted in a contrasting color. This was a fact for the jury to determine. The jury must also determine whether defendant had reason to expect that the employees attention would have been distracted as he/she worked or that he/she would forget the location of a known hazard or fail to protect himself against it. The court also held the plaintiffs knowledge of the danger would not alone bar his/her recovery, but this knowledge goes to the issue of contributory negligence.
In Ferrie v. DArc, 31 N.J. 92, 95 (1959), the court held that there was no reasonable excuse for plaintiffs forgetfulness or inattention to the fact that a railing was temporarily absent from her porch, as she undertook to throw bones to her dog, and fell to the ground because of the absence of a railing she customarily leaned upon. The court held: When an injury results from forgetfulness or inattention to a known danger, the obvious contributory negligence is not excusable in the absence of some condition or circumstance which would divert the mind or attention of an ordinarily prudent man. Mere lapse of memory, or inattention or mental abstraction at the critical moment cannot be considered an adequate diversion. One who is inattentive to or forgetful of a known and obvious condition which contains a risk of injury is obvious condition which contains a risk of injury to guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law, unless some diversion of the type referred to above is shown to have existed at the time.
The following discussion in 2 Harper & James, Torts, §27.13, pp. 1489 et seq., (1956), cited with approval in Zentz v. Toop, supra, 92 N.J. Super. at 112, may be helpful in understanding the principles involved in the above charges:
Once an occupier has learned of dangerous conditions on his/her premises, a serious question arises as to whether he/she may--as a matter of law under all circumstances--discharge all further duty to his/her invitees by simply giving them a warning adequate to enable them to avoid the harm. A good many authorities, including the Restatement, take the position that he/she may. But this proposition is a highly doubtful one both on principle and authority. The alternative would be a requirement of due care to make the conditions reasonably safe--a requirement which might well be satisfied by warning or obviousness in any given case, but which would not be so satisfied invariably.
* * *
1. Defendants duty. People can hurt themselves on almost any condition of the premises. That is certainly true of an ordinary flight of stairs. But it takes more than this to make a condition unreasonably dangerous. If people who are likely to encounter a condition may be expected to take perfectly good care themselves without further precautions, then the condition is not unreasonably dangerous because the likelihood of harm is slight. This is true of the flight of ordinary stairs in a usual place in the daylight. It is also true of ordinary curbing along a sidewalk, doors or windows in a house, counters in a store, stones and slopes in a New England field, and countless other things which are common in our everyday experience. It may also be true of less common and obvious conditions which lurk in a place where visitors would expect to find such dangers. The ordinary person can use or encounter all of these things safely if he/she is fully aware of their presence at the time. And if they have no unusual features and are in a place where he/she would naturally look for them, he/she may be expected to take care of himself if they are plainly visible. In such cases it is enough if the condition is obvious, or is made obvious (e.g., by illumination). * * *
On the other hand, the fact that a condition is obvious--i.e., it would be clearly visible to one whose attention was directed to it--does not always remove all unreasonable danger. It may fail to do so in two lines of cases. In one line of cases, people would not in fact expect to find the condition where it is, or they are likely to have their attention distracted as they approach it, or, for some other reason, they are in fact not likely to see it, though it could be readily and safely avoided if they did. There may be negligence in creating or maintaining such a condition even though it is physically obvious; slight obstructions to travel on a sidewalk an unexpected step in a store aisle or between a passenger elevator and the landing furnish examples. Under the circumstances of any particular case, an additional warning may, as a matter of fact, suffice to remove the danger, as where a customer, not hurried by crowds or some emergency, and in possession of his/her facilities, is told to watch his/her step or step up at the appropriate time. When this is the case, the warning satisfies the requirement of due care and is incompatible with defendants negligence. Here again, plaintiffs recovery would be prevented by thatfact no matter how careful he/she was. But under ordinary negligence principles the question is properly one of fact for the jury except in the clearest situations.
In the second line of cases the condition of danger is suchthat it cannot be encountered with reasonable safety even if the danger is known and appreciated. An icy flight of stairs or sidewalk, a slippery floor, a defective crosswalk, or a walkway near an exposed high tension wire may furnish examples. So may the less dangerous kind of condition if surrounding circumstances are likely to force plaintiff upon it, or if, for any other reason, his/her knowledge is not likely to be a protection against danger. It is in these situations that the bit of the Restatements adequate warning rule is felt. Here, if people are in fact likely to encounter the danger, the duty of reasonable care to make conditions reasonably safe is not satisfied by a simple warning; the probability of harm in spite of such precaution is still unreasonably great. And the books are full of cases in which defendants, owing such a duty, are held liable for creating or maintaining a perfectly obvious danger of which plaintiffs are fully aware. The Restatement, however, would deny liability here because the occupier need not invite visitors, and if he/she does, he/she may condition the invitation on any terms he/she chooses, so long as there is full disclosure of them. If the invitee wishes to come on those terms, he/she assumes the risk.
The Restatement view is wrong in policy. The law has never freed landownership or possession from all restrictions or obligations imposed in the social interest. The possessors duty to use care towards those outside the land is of long standing. And many obligations are imposed for the benefit of people who voluntarily come upon the land. For the invitee, the occupier must make reasonable inspection and give warning of hidden perils. . . But this should not be conclusive. Reasonable expectations may raise duties, but they should not always limit them. The gist of the matter is unreasonable probability of harm in fact. And when that is great enough in spite of full disclosure, it is carrying the quasi-sovereignty of the landowner pretty far to let him ignore it to the risk of life and limb.
So far as authority goes, the orthodox theory is getting to be a pretty feeble reed for defendants to lean on. It is still frequently stated, though often by way of dictum. On the other hand, some cases have simply--though unostentatiously--broken with tradition and held defendant liable to an invitee in spite of his/her knowledge of the danger, when the danger was great enough and could have been feasibly remedied. Other cases stress either the reasonable assumption of safety which the invitee may make or the likelihood that his/her attention will be distracted, in order to cut down the notion of what is obvious or the adequacy of warning. And the latter is often a jury question even under the Restatement rule. It is not surprising, then, that relatively few decisions have depended on the Restatement rule alone for denying liability.
2. Contributory Negligence. . . But there are several situations in which a plaintiff will not be barred by contributory negligence although he/she encountered a known danger. . . For another, it is not necessarily negligent for a plaintiff knowingly and deliberately to encounter a danger which it is negligent for defendant to maintain. Thus a traveler may knowingly use a defective sidewalk, or a tenant a defective common stairway, without being negligent if the use was reasonable under all the circumstances.
CONCLUSION These situations show that the invitee will not always be barred by his/her self-exposure to known dangers on the premises.

Restrictive Covenants NJ

Restrictive Covenants


Non-compete Covenants in employee agreements - Dont Let Your Employees steal your Clients
By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Most businesses spend thousands of dollars developing client lists, training staff and promoting and advertising their businesses. After investing substantial time and money in good will, an owner needs to protect the business from employees attempting to leave and take away accounts. Without a non-compete clause and a restrictive covenant, an employee can open up a competing business on the same street! An employer does not want to pay an employee to build relationships and develop a business, only for that employee to leave, take the fruits of the employers investment, and compete directly against the employer. The NJ Supreme Court granted greater protection to employers and businesses in Lamorte Burns & Co., Inc. v. Walters 167 N.J. 285 (2001)
The Court in Lamorte held: By secretly collecting confidential and proprietary client information while employed by Lamorte Burns & Co., Inc. and using the data to solicit and take away Lamortes clients immediately after resigning, Michael Walters and Nancy Nixon breached their duty of loyalty, tortiously interfered with Lamortes economic advantage, misappropriated confidential and proprietary information, and competed unfairly.
The Court in Lamorte determined that: The client information gathered from Lamortes files by Walters and Nixon was not generally available to the public, would not have been known to defendants but for their employment by Lamorte, went beyond mere client names, and gave defendants an advantage in soliciting clients after they resigned. Walters and Nixon knew Lamorte had an interest in protecting the information. The client information was confidential and proprietary.
The Supreme Court in Lamorte also determined that: An employee may prepare to start a competing business while employed by the entity he will compete with, but may not breach the undivided duty of loyalty owed the employer while still employed by soliciting the employers customers or engaging in other acts of secret competition. Walters and Nixon breached the duty of loyalty by collecting protected information while employed by Lamorte for the sole purpose of gaining an advantage over Lamorte as soon as they resigned.
The Supreme Court in Lamorte held that: Walters and Nixon acted with malice and in a manner contrary to the notion of free and fair competition by using the secretly gathered confidential client data to effect a weekend coup, knowing that the delay in Lamortes discovery of their resignation and solicitation would work to their economic advantage Restrictive covenants are very useful for businesses to prevent an employee from taking your clients and your business.
Recently, the NJ Supreme Court ruled an non-compete covenant as enforceable and not against public policy. In Maw v. Advanced Clinical Communications, Inc (ACCI) 179 N.J. 439, 846 A.2d 1222. (2004). In this case, Karol Maw began working for Advanced Clinical Communications, Inc. (ACCI) as a graphic designer on November 1, 1997. ACCI provides marketing and educational services for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Maw had been hired to design written materials used by ACCI in its marketing and educational programs. Maw was promoted to Senior Graphic Designer in January 2001. Thereafter, pursuant to a new company policy, ACCI required all of its employees at or above the level of ³coordinator² to sign a non-compete agreement as a condition of continuing employment. The agreement precluded, among other things, Maw from becoming employed by any competitor or customer of ACCI for a period of two years following the termination of her employment. Maw was informed that she could seek legal advice concerning the employment agreement. Maw consulted her father, an attorney, who suggested changes. Maw presented those revisions to ACCI¹s Human Resource Department but was told that no changes could be made. Maw did not sign the non-compete agreement, prompting her termination by ACCI in March 2001 for failing to comply with company policy. The court in Maw held her conscientious employee CEPA claim must fail because our State¹s public policy respecting noncompete agreements is not set forth in a ³clear mandate,² and does not ³concern[] the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.² N.J.S.A. 34:19-3c(3). Over a generation ago, our Court sketched the broad parameters for determining whether a noncompete agreement was unenforceable. Whitmyer Bros., Inc. v. Doyle, 58 N.J. 25 (1971); Solari Indus. Inc. v. Malady, 55 N.J. 571 (1970). In Solari, the Supreme Court canvassed, the historical treatment of noncompete agreements, and acknowledged the previously held negative view of such agreements. 55 N.J. at 575-84. The Court cited academic writings on the topic that elaborated in greater detail on the relation of such agreements to Anglo-American commercial practices. See, e.g., Solari, supra, 55 N.J. at 574-77 (citing Harlan M. Blake, Employee Agreements Not to Compete, 73 Harv. L. Rev. 625 (1960)). The court in Maw further held: But Solari was a turning point, for the Court held then ³that the time is well due for the abandonment of New Jersey¹s void per se rule in favor of the rule which permits the total or partial enforcement of noncompetitive agreements to the extent reasonable under the circumstances.² 55 N.J. at 585. In Whitmyer, supra, The Court expanded on Solari, establishing what is now known as the Solari/Whitmyer test for determining whether a noncompete agreement is unreasonable and therefore unenforceable. Under the Solari/Whitmyer test, a noncompete agreement is enforceable ³if it Osimply protects the legitimate interests of the employer, imposes no undue hardship on the employee and is not injurious to the public.¹² Ingersoll-Rand Co. v. Ciavatta, 110 N.J. 609, 628 (1988) (quoting Whitmyer, supra, 58 N.J. at 32-33). The first two prongs of the test require a balancing of the employer¹s interests in protecting proprietary and confidential information and the asserted hardship on the employee. Ingersoll-Rand, supra, 110 N.J. at 634-35. The third requires the reviewing court to analyze the public¹s broad concern in fostering competition, creativity, and ingenuity. Id. at 639. Solari/Whitmyer has now become an accepted part of the common law, not only in New Jersey but also in other jurisdictions around the country. Id. at 630-34. The court in Maw further held: Although our dissenting colleagues may contend that do-not-compete provisions are, or should be, per se illegal, in point of fact, they are not illegal per se. It is not accurate to describe our current caselaw, which allows enforcement of reasonable non-compete agreements, as a ³clear mandate² that disfavors such agreements. The Solari/Whitmyer test is a multi-part, fact-intensive inquiry. Not only must multiple interests of differing parties and entities be identified, but also, those interests must be gauged for reasonableness and legitimacy. The application of that test here, and as a general matter, simply does not evoke the type of a ³clear mandate of public policy² that was contemplated by N.J.S.A. 34:19-3c(3). The court in Maw further held: The Court are informed by the amici that non-compete agreements are a common part of commercial employment. The Court do not accept as a premise that employers, in large numbers, are engaging in a practice that is ³indisputably dangerous to the public health, safety or welfare.² Dzwonar, supra, 177 N.J. at 464. It is more appropriate to characterize the business community as having adapted to the Solari/Whitmyer approach that recognizes that noncompete agreements can serve a useful purpose so long as the agreement is not unreasonable. The court in Maw concluded that plaintiff¹s private dispute over the terms of the do-not-compete provision in her employment agreement does not implicate violation of a clear mandate of public policy as contemplated by Section 3c(3) of CEPA. As previously noted, plaintiff did have options available to her. If she could not negotiate terms that were to her liking, she was free to dispute the reasonableness of those terms if and when her employer attempted to enforce the agreement. The burden then would be on the employer to hire counsel and initiate enforcement litigation, Solari, supra, 55 N.J. at 574, and nothing would preclude an employee-defendant in such an action from asserting any and all affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Ingersoll- Rand, supra, 110 N.J. at 621-22
HIRE the Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen & Associates to prepare Restrictive Covenants to deter employees from taking your business. Call 732-572-0500 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Elective Share of Spous

Elective Share of Spouse 

 What is my share of my spouse's estate if I elect to take against the will of my deceased spouse?
In general, a surviving spouse dissatisfied with his or her share under the will of the deceased spouse may renounce the will and elect to take his or her statutory share of the testatorís entire estate. The surviving spouse is entitled to one-third of the estate provided that at the time of death, the surviving spouse and decedent had not been living separate and apart in different habitations. Generally, the surviving spouse must elect to take his/her elective share by filing a complaint within six months after the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent's estate.
Whether to elect to take against a Will is a decision that cannot be made without comprehensive information regarding the affairs of the spouses. This is not a matter for self-help and referral to an attorney familiar with estate administration is normally required.
3B:8-1 Elective share of surviving spouse of person dying domiciled in this State
What is my share of my spouse's estate if I elect to take against the will of my deceased spouse?
In general, a surviving spouse dissatisfied with his or her share under the will of the deceased spouse may renounce the will and elect to take his or her statutory share of the testator's entire estate. The surviving spouse is entitled to one-third of the estate provided that at the time of death, the surviving spouse and decedent had not been living separate and apart in different habitations. Generally, the surviving spouse must elect to take his/her elective share by filing a complaint within six months after the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent's estate.
Whether to elect to take against a will is a decision that cannot be made without comprehensive information regarding the affairs of the spouses. This is not a matter for self-help and referral to an attorney familiar with estate administration is normally required.
The following is the revised New Jersey Law on Elective share of surviving spouse
NJSA 3B:8-1 Elective share of surviving spouse

3B:8-1 Elective share of surviving spouse or domestic partner of person dying domiciled in this State; conditions.

If a married person or person in a domestic partnership dies domiciled in this State, on or after May 28, 1980, the surviving spouse or domestic partner has a right of election to take an elective share of one-third of the augmented estate under the limitations and conditions hereinafter stated, provided that at the time of death the decedent and the surviving spouse or domestic partner had not been living separate and apart in different habitations or had not ceased to cohabit as man and wife, either as the result of judgment of divorce from bed and board or under circumstances which would have given rise to a cause of action for divorce or nullity of marriage to a decedent prior to his death under the laws of this State.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.7.

3B:8-2. Elective share of surviving spouse or domestic partner of person dying not domiciled in this State.
If a married person or person in a domestic partnership not domiciled in this State dies, the right, if any, of the surviving spouse or domestic partner to take an elective share in property in this State is governed by the law of the decedent's domicile at death.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.8.

3B:8-3. Meaning of "augmented estate."
The "augmented estate" means the estate reduced by funeral and administration expenses, and enforceable claims, to which is added the value of property transferred by the decedent at any time during marriage, or during a domestic partnership, to or for the benefit of any person other than the surviving spouse or domestic partner, to the extent that the decedent did not receive adequate and full consideration in money or money's worth for the transfer, if the transfer is of any of the following types:
a. Any transfer made after May 28, 1980, under which the decedent retained at the time of his death the possession or enjoyment of, or right to income from, the property;
b. Any transfer made after May 28, 1980, to the extent that the decedent retained at the time of his death a power, either alone or in conjunction with any other person, to revoke or to consume, invade or dispose of the principal for his own benefit;
c. Any transfer made after May 28, 1980, whereby property is held at the time of decedent's death by decedent and another with right of survivorship;
d. Any transfer made, after May 28, 1980, if made within 2 years of death of the decedent, to the extent that the aggregate transfers to any one donee in either of the years exceed $3,000.00.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.9.

3B:8-4. Valuing property transferred
Property transferred in the manner set forth in N.J.S. 3B:8-3 is valued as of the decedent's death except that property given irrevocably to a donee during the lifetime of the decedent is valued as of the date the donee came into possession or enjoyment of the property if that occurs first.

3B:8-5. Transfers excluded.
Any transfer of property shall be excluded from the augmented estate under N.J.S. 3B:8-3, if made with the written consent or joinder of the surviving spouse or domestic partner. There shall also be excluded from the augmented estate any life insurance, accident insurance, joint annuity or pension payable to a person other than the surviving spouse or domestic partner.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.10.

3B:8-6. Other property to be included in augmented estate.
There shall also be included in the augmented estate:
a. The value of property owned by the surviving spouse or domestic partner at the time of, or as a result of, the decedent's death to the extent that the property is derived from the decedent by means other than by testate or intestate succession without a full consideration in money or money's worth; and
b. The value of the property described in subsection a. hereof which has been transferred by the surviving spouse or domestic partner at any time during marriage or domestic partnership without a full consideration in money or money's worth to any person other than the decedent which would have been includable in the spouse's or domestic partner's augmented estate if the surviving spouse or domestic partner had predeceased the decedent.
Income earned by included property prior to the decedent's death is not treated as property derived from the decedent.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.11.

3B:8-7. Property derived from decedent.
For the purposes of N.J.S. 3B:8-6, property derived from the decedent includes, but is not limited to, any beneficial interest of the surviving spouse or domestic partner in a trust created by the decedent during his lifetime, any property appointed to the spouse or domestic partner by the decedent's exercise of a general or special power of appointment also exercisable in favor of others than the spouse or domestic partner, any proceeds of insurance, including accidental death benefits on the life of the decedent attributable to premiums paid by him, any lump sum immediately payable and the commuted value of the proceeds of annuity contracts under which the decedent was the primary annuitant attributable to premiums paid by him, the commuted value of amounts payable after the decedent's death under any public or private pension, disability compensation, death benefit or retirement plan, exclusive of the Federal Social Security system, by reason of service performed or disabilities incurred by the decedent, the value of the share of the surviving spouse or domestic partner resulting from rights in community property acquired in any other state formerly owned with the decedent and the value of any rights of dower and curtesy. Premiums paid by the decedent's employer, his partner, a partnership of which he was a member, or his creditors, are deemed to have been paid by the decedent.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.12.

3B:8-8. Valuation of property derived from decedent.
For the purposes of valuing property derived from the decedent as provided in N.J.S. 3B:8-6:
a. Property owned by the spouse or domestic partner at the decedent's death is valued as of the date of decedent's death; and
b. Property transferred by the spouse or domestic partner is valued at the time the transfer became irrevocable, or at the decedent's death, whichever occurs first.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.13.
3B:8-9. Presumption as to property owned or previously transferred by spouse or domestic partner at decedent's death.
Property owned by the surviving spouse or domestic partner as of the decedent's death, or previously transferred by the surviving spouse or domestic partner, is presumed to have been derived from the decedent except to the extent that any party in interest establishes that it was derived from another source.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.14.

3B:8-10. Waiving right to an elective share.
The right of election of a surviving spouse or domestic partner and the rights of the surviving spouse or domestic partner may be waived, wholly or partially, before or after marriage before, on or after May 28, 1980, by a written contract, agreement or waiver, signed by the party waiving after fair disclosure. Unless it provides to the contrary, a waiver of "all rights" (or equivalent language) in the property or estate of a present or prospective spouse or domestic partner or a complete property settlement entered into after or in anticipation of separation, divorce or termination of a domestic partnership is a waiver of all rights to an elective share by each spouse or domestic partner in the property of the other and a renunciation by each of all benefits which would otherwise pass to him from the other by intestate succession or by virtue of the provisions of any will executed before the waiver or property settlement.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.15.
3B:8-11. Who may exercise the right to take an elective share.
The right of election to take an elective share by a surviving spouse or domestic partner may be exercised only during his lifetime. In the case of a surviving spouse or domestic partner for whom the court has appointed a guardian to manage his estate, the right of election may be exercised only by order of the court making the appointment after finding that the election is necessary to provide adequate support of the surviving spouse or domestic partner during his probable life expectancy.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.16.
3B:8-12. Filing complaint for elective share; extension of time.
The surviving spouse or domestic partner may elect to take his elective share in the augmented estate by filing a complaint in the Superior Court within 6 months after the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent's estate. The court may, before the time for election has expired and upon good cause shown by the surviving spouse or domestic partner, extend the time for election upon notice to persons interested in the estate and to distributees and recipients of portions of the augmented estate whose interests will be adversely affected by the taking of the elective share.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.17.
3B:8-13. Notice of hearing.
The surviving spouse or domestic partner shall give notice of the time and place set for hearing to persons interested in the estate and to the distributees and recipients of portions of the augmented estate whose interests will be adversely affected by the taking of the elective share.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.18.
3B:8-14 Withdrawal of demand for an elective share.

The surviving spouse or domestic partner may withdraw his demand for an elective share at any time before entry of a final judgment by the court.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.19.
3B:8-15. Fixing amount of elective share; payment of elective share
The court shall determine the amount of the elective share and shall order its payment from the assets of the augmented estate or by contribution as appears appropriate in the manner as hereinafter set forth in this chapter. If it appears that a fund or property included in the augmented estate has not come into the possession of the personal representative, or has been distributed by the personal representative, the court nevertheless shall fix the liability of any person who has any interest in the fund or property or who has possession thereof, whether as trustee or otherwise. The proceeding may be maintained against fewer than all persons against whom relief could be sought, but no person is subject to contribution in any greater amount than he would have been if relief had been secured against all persons subject to contribution.

3B:8-16. Enforcing judgment
The judgment of the court made pursuant to N.J.S. 3B:8-15 may be enforced as other judgments are enforced by law.

3B:8-17. Value of surviving spouse's or domestic partner's interest in any life estate.
3B:8-17. Value of surviving spouse's or domestic partner's interest in any life estate.
In an action for an elective share, the electing spouse's or domestic partner's total or proportional beneficial interest in any life estate in real or personal property or in any trust shall be valued at one-half of the total value of the property or trust or of the portion of the property or trust subject to the life estate.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.20.

3B:8-18. Satisfaction of elective share.
The amount of the surviving spouse's or domestic partner's elective share shall be satisfied by applying:
a. The value of all property, estate or interest therein, owned by the surviving spouse or domestic partner in his own right at the time of the decedent's death from whatever source acquired, or succeeded to by the surviving spouse or domestic partner as a result of decedent's death notwithstanding that the property, estate or interest or part thereof, succeeded to by the surviving spouse or domestic partner as the result of decedent's death has been renounced by the surviving spouse or domestic partner;
b. The value of the property described in subsection b. of N.J.S. 3B:8-6, and
c. The remaining property of the augmented estate is so applied that liability for the balance of the elective share of the surviving spouse or domestic partner is equitably apportioned among the recipients of the augmented estate in proportion to the value of their interests therein.
Amended 2005, c.331, s.21.

3B:8-19. Persons subject to contribution.
Only original transferees from, or appointees of, the decedent and their donees, to the extent the donees have the property or its proceeds, are subject to the contribution to make up the elective share of the surviving spouse or domestic partner. A person liable to contribution may choose to give up the property transferred to him or to pay its value as fixed in the manner provided in N.J.S. 3B:8-4.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Codicil to a Will

Codicil to a Will



Codicil to a Will
A written revision to a Will is called a Codicil. An individual can have a Codicil to his or her Will as long as the 
Codicil meets certain requirements. The codicil must be signed 
and witnessed just as the original Will was signed and witnessed. The
 Codicil should refer to original Will by date and should be
 attached to the original Will. It is not recommended that an individual
 attempt to draft a codicil. A Codicil should only be drafted 
by an attorney to insure that it will have its intended effect. 

Decades ago when Wills and documents were drafted on typewriters. Now with modern computers, it is usually better just to prepare a new Will drawn up and executed.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ethical Marketing for Your Practice: Learn how to make more money by ethically marketing your practice... and staying ethically compliant!

Monday, January 30th from 5:30-8:30
NJ Law Center
Learn how to make more money by ethically marketing your practice...
and staying ethically compliant!

This program will demonstrate proven techniques for promoting your practice while staying within the ethics rules whether you handle cases in Municipal Court or in other areas of law.

Topics include:
• An overview of the ethics of marketing - a discussion of information that is
and is not permitted to be communicated to potential clients. An overview of
relevant RPC’s , ethics opinions and cases that refer to ethical
communication with potential clients, including Opinion 39, 42 and 43 and
RPC 7.1.
• Ethical websites - do’s and dont’s as to how your website can attract the
most clients while staying within the ethics rules. Topics will include imagery,
testimonials and design.
The Ethical Considerations of Social Networking - a focus on how to
ethically grow your practice through on-line networking.
• The Ethical Considerations of In-Person Networking - This will review what
you can and can’t say in person, conflicts of interest and more.
• Blogs, Event Calendars, Articles and Other Types of Promotion - Some
proven techniques for marketing and rainmaking that go beyond the
conventional but stay within the ethics boundaries. ...and more!
Moderator/Speaker:
Ken A. Vercammen, Esq.
Law Office of Kenneth A. Vercammen, Edison

Speakers:
Jason T. Komninos, Esq.
Law Office of Jason t. Komninos, Hackensack
Shanna McCann,.Esq.
Chance & McCann, LLC, Bridgeton
Marc Garfinkle, Esq.


Ethical Marketing for Your Practice: Learn how to make more money by ethically marketing your practice... and staying ethically compliant!

Location:
New Jersey Law Center
1 Constitution Sq. New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Date:
January 30, 2017
Time:
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM ET

NJSBA & NJSBA Section/Committee members are eligible for
special discounts - login to see your discounted rate for this program.
     
Presented in cooperation with the NJSBA Senior Lawyers Special Committee
           
            List Price: $170.00 USD
            Your Price: $128.00 USD

            

Monday, November 21, 2016

Removing an Executor of an Estate

Removing an Executor of an Estate
By Kenneth Vercammen Esq. of Edison, NJ
Under New Jersey Law, the person selected as an Executor of a Will has numerous legal responsibilities following the death of the person who signed the Will. Primarily, they have a duty to probate the Will, liquidate assets, pay bills and taxes, file all necessary court and tax returns, and then distribute the assets to beneficiaries. 
In New Jersey, the court and Surrogate do not supervise how an executor or administrator handles the estate. An Executor occasionally fails to timely carry out their duties. They may fail to file tax returns, fail to keep records, misappropriate funds or ignore instructions under the Will. If a beneficiary is not satisfied with the handling of the estate, they can have an attorney file a Complaint in the Superior Court to compel accounting, remove the executor, compel filing of tax returns and seek other relief.
The New Probate Statute of NJ made a number of substantial changes to the provisions governing the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey.
Under the United States Supreme Court Case, Tulsa Professional Collection Services, Inc., v. Joanne Pope, Executrix of the Estate of H. Everett Pope, Jr., Deceased, 108 S.CT. 1340 (1988) the Personal Representative in every estate is personally responsible to provide actual notice to all known or "readily ascertainable" creditors of the decedent. This means that is the executor’s responsibility to diligently search for any "readily ascertainable" creditors.
As with a litigated court matter, trials can become expensive. Competent elder law/probate attorney may charge an hourly rate of $300-$450 per hour, with a retainer of $4000 needed. Attorneys will require the full retainer to be paid in full up front. We charge a consult fee of $200 to discuss the case.

In lieu of a Formal Accounting the beneficiaries will usually be requested to sign a Release and Refunding bond. If a beneficiary has evidence of misappropriation, they should ask the executor for an informal accounting prior to signing the Release and Refunding bond. 
COMPLAINT FOR ACCOUNTING & REMOVAL OF EXECUTOR
A Complaint for Accounting is filed in the Superior Court Probate Part to request on accounting, removal of the current executor and selection of a new person to administer and wrap up the estate. See Rule 4:87-1
A signed certification of one or more beneficiaries is needed. In addition, an Order to Show Cause is prepared by the attorney. The Order to Show Cause is submitted to be signed by the Judge directing the executor to file a written answer to the Complaint, as well as appear before the court at a specific date and time. The NJ Judiciary website has a model form Order to Show Cause.
As with a litigated court matter, trials can become expensive. Competent elder law/probate attorney may charge an hourly rate of $275-$400 per hour, with a minimum retainer of $3,000 needed. Most attorneys require the retainer to be paid in full up front.
The plaintiff can request the following:
(1) That the named executor be ordered to provide an accounting of the estate to plaintiff.
(2) Defendant Executor be ordered to provide an accounting for all assets of decedent dated five years prior to death that defendant may have administrated through a Power of Attorney.
(3) Payment of plaintiff's attorney's fees and costs of suit for the action.
(4) Declaring a constructive trust of the assets of the decedent for the benefit of the plaintiff and the estate.
(5) That the executor be removed as the executor/administrator of the estate and that the plaintiff be named as Administrator C.T.A. or administrator of the estate.
(6) That the executor be barred from spending any estate funds, be barred from paying any bills, be barred from taking a commission, be barred from writing checks, be barred from acting on behalf of the estate, except as specifically authorized by Superior Court Order or written consent by the plaintiff. The statue on removing the Executor for cause is NJSA 3B:14-21.
OBJECT TO EXECUTOR'S COMMISSIONS
   Under NJSA 3B:18-1 et seq., Executors, administrators and other fiduciaries are entitled to receive a commission on both the principal of the estate, and the income earned by assets.
However, if you have evidence that the executor has breached their fiduciary duties or violated a law, the Superior Court accounting complaint can request that the commissions be reduced or eliminated.
COMPEL THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE AND OTHER PROPERTY
Occasionally, a family member is living in a home owned by the decedent. To keep family harmony, often this family member is permitted to remain in the home temporarily. However, it may later become clear that the resident has no desire on moving, and the executor has neither an intention to make them move nor to sell the house. The remedy a beneficiary has can be to have the attorney include in the Superior Court complaint a count to
1) remove the executor
2) remove the tenant and make them pay rent to the estate for the time they used the real property since death without paying rent
3) compel the appraisal of the home and, thereafter, the sale of the property
4) make the executor reimburse the estate for the neglect or waste of assets.
Removal for cause
 of Executor  
NJSA 3B:14-21    The court may remove a fiduciary from office when:

   
a.  After due notice of an order or judgment of the court so directing, he neglects or refuses, within the time fixed by the court, to file an inventory, render an account or give security or additional security;

   
b.  After due notice of any other order or judgment of the court made under its proper authority, he neglects or refuses to perform or obey the order or judgment within the time fixed by the court;  or

   
c.  He has embezzled, wasted or misapplied any part of the estate committed to his custody, or has abused the trust and confidence reposed in him;  or

   
         d.  He has removed from the state or does not reside therein and neglects or refuses to proceed with the administration of the estate and perform the duties and trust devolving upon him; or

          
         e.  He is of unsound mind or mentally incapacitated for the transaction of business; or

   
f.  One of two or more fiduciaries has neglected or refused to perform his duties or to join with the other fiduciary or fiduciaries in the administration of the estate committed to their care whereby the proper administration and settlement of the estate is or may be hindered or prevented.
In addition, "a court may invoke its equity powers to remove [an executor]." In re Duke, 305 N.J. Super. 408, 438 (Ch. Div. 1995) (citing In re Koretzky, 8 N.J. 506, 530 (1951)). However, a judge should be particularly reluctant to remove a fiduciary chosen by the decedent, Connelly v. Weisfeld, 142 N.J. Eq. 406, 411 (E. & A. 1948), and the foremost concern when such an act is contemplated should be whether the executor's continued service would be detrimental to the estate. Wolosoff v. CSI Liquidating Trust, 205 N.J. Super. 349, 360 (App. Div. 1985)
The critical question is … "whether the circumstances are such that the continuance . . . in office would be detrimental to the [estate] and require the court to grant relief." Wolosoff, supra, 205 N.J. Super. at 360. Thus, mere friction between an executor and beneficiaries is not a ground for removal unless the relationship is likely to "interfere materially with the administration" of the estate. Ibid. Estate litigation is often acrimonious, but the removal of an executor appointed by the decedent is generally to be avoided. Connelly, supra, 142 N.J. Eq. at 411.
"Generally, in order for friction or hostility between the beneficiary and trustee to form the basis for removal, there must be a demonstration that the relationship will interfere materially with the administration of the trust or is likely to do so." Wolosoff, supra, 205 N.J. Super. at 360-61. There also must be proof that the friction or hostility arose out of the trustee's behavior. Ibid.; Starr v. Wiley, 89 N.J. Eq. 79, 90 (Ch. 1918)
Duty of Executor in Probate & Estate Administration
1. Conduct a thorough search of the decedent's personal papers and effects for any evidence which might point you in the direction of a potential creditor;
2. Carefully examine the decedent's checkbook and check register for recurring payments, as these may indicate an existing debt;
3. Contact the issuer of each credit card that the decedent had in his/her possession at the time of his/ her death;
4. Contact all parties who provided medical care, treatment, or assistance to the decedent prior to his/her death;
         Your attorney will not be able to file the NJ inheritance tax return until it is clear as to the amounts of the medical bills and other expenses. Medical expenses can be deducted in the inheritance tax.
         Under United States Supreme Court Case, Tulsa Professional Collection Services, Inc., v. Joanne Pope, Executrix of the Estate of H. Everett Pope, Jr., Deceased, the Personal Representative in every estate is personally responsible to provide actual notice to all known or "readily ascertainable" creditors of the decedent. This means that is your responsibility to diligently search for any "readily ascertainable" creditors.
Other duties/ Executor to Do
Bring Will to Surrogate
Apply to Federal Tax ID #
Set up Estate Account at bank (pay all bills from estate account)
Pay Bills
Notice of Probate to Beneficiaries (Attorney can handle)
If charity, notice to Atty General (Attorney can handle)
File notice of Probate with Surrogate (Attorney can handle)
File first Federal and State Income Tax Return [CPA- ex Marc Kane]
Prepare Inheritance Tax Return and obtain Tax Waivers (Attorney can handle)
File waivers within 8 months upon receipt (Attorney can handle)
Prepare Informal Accounting
Prepare Release and Refunding Bond (Attorney can handle)

Obtain Child Support Judgment clearance (Attorney will handle)

         Let's review the major duties involved-
In General. The executor's job is to (1) administer the estate--i.e., collect and manage assets, file tax returns and pay taxes and debts--and (2) distribute any assets or make any distributions of bequests, whether personal or charitable in nature, as the deceased directed (under the provisions of the Will). Let's take a look at some of the specific steps involved and what these responsibilities can mean. Chronological order of the various duties may vary.
Probate. The executor must "probate" the Will. Probate is a process by which a Will is admitted. This means that the Will is given legal effect by the court. The court's decision that the Will was validly executed under state law gives the executor the power to perform his or her duties under the provisions of the Will.
         An employer identification number ("EIN") should be obtained for the estate; this number must be included on all returns and other tax documents having to do with the estate. The executor should also file a written notice with the IRS that he/she is serving as the fiduciary of the estate. This gives the executor the authority to deal with the IRS on the estate's behalf.
         Pay the Debts. The claims of the estate's creditors must be paid. Sometimes a claim must be litigated to determine if it is valid. Any estate administration expenses, such as attorneys', accountants' and appraisers' fees, must also be paid.
         Manage the Estate. The executor takes legal title to the assets in the probate estate. The probate court will sometimes require a public accounting of the estate assets. The assets of the estate must be found and may have to be collected. As part of the asset management function, the executor may have to liquidate or run a business or manage a securities portfolio. To sell marketable securities or real estate, the executor will have to obtain stock power, tax waivers, file affidavits, and so on.
         Take Care of Tax Matters. The executor is legally responsible for filing necessary income and estate-tax returns (federal and state) and for paying all death taxes (i.e., estate and inheritance). The executor can, in some cases be held personally liable for unpaid taxes of the estate. Tax returns that will need to be filed can include the estate's income tax return (both federal and state), the federal estate-tax return, the state death tax return (estate and/or inheritance), and the deceased's final income tax return (federal and state). Taxes usually must be paid before other debts. In many instances, federal estate-tax returns are not needed as the size of the estate will be under the amount for which a federal estate-tax return is required.
         Often it is necessary to hire an appraiser to value certain assets of the estate, such as a business, pension, or real estate, since estate taxes are based on the "fair market" value of the assets. After the filing of the returns and payment of taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will generally send some type of estate closing letter accepting the return. Occasionally, the return will be audited.
         Distribute the Assets. After all debts and expenses have been paid, the executor will distribute the assets. Frequently, beneficiaries can receive partial distributions of their inheritance without having to wait for the closing of the estate.
         Under increasingly complex laws and rulings, particularly with respect to taxes, in larger estates an executor can be in charge for two or three years before the estate administration is completed. If the job is to be done without unnecessary cost and without causing undue hardship and delay for the beneficiaries of the estate, the executor should have an understanding of the many problems involved and an organization created for settling estates. In short, an executor should have experience
         At some point in time, you may be asked to serve as the executor of the estate of a relative or friend, or you may ask someone to serve as your executor. An executor's job comes with many legal obligations. Under certain circumstances, an executor can even be held personally liable for unpaid estate taxes. Let's review the major duties involved, which we've set out below.
         In General. The executor's job is to (1) administer the estate--i.e., collect and manage assets, file tax returns and pay taxes and debts--and (2) distribute any assets or make any distributions of bequests, whether personal or charitable in nature, as the deceased directed (under the provisions of the Will). Let's take a look at some of the specific steps involved and what these responsibilities can mean. Chronological order of the various duties may vary.
         Probate. The executor must "probate" the Will. Probate is a process by which a Will is admitted. This means that the Will is given legal effect by the court. The court's decision that the Will was validly executed under state law gives the executor the power to perform his or her duties under the provisions of the Will.
         An employer identification number ("EIN") should be obtained for the estate; this number must be included on all returns and other tax documents having to do with the estate. The executor should also file a written notice with the IRS that he/she is serving as the fiduciary of the estate. This gives the executor the authority to deal with the IRS on the estate's behalf.

         Pay the Debts. The claims of the estate's creditors must be paid. Sometimes a claim must be litigated to determine if it is valid. Any estate administration expenses, such as attorneys', accountants' and appraisers' fees, must also be paid.

         Manage the Estate. The executor takes legal title to the assets in the probate estate. The probate court will sometimes require a public accounting of the estate's assets. The assets of the estate must be found and may have to be collected. As part of the asset management function, the executor may have to liquidate or run a business or manage a securities portfolio. To sell marketable securities or real estate, the executor will have to obtain stock power, tax waivers, file affidavits, and so on.

         Take Care of Tax Matters. The executor is legally responsible for filing necessary income and estate-tax returns (federal and state) and for paying all death taxes (i.e., estate and inheritance). The executor can, in some cases be held personally liable for unpaid taxes of the estate. Tax returns that will need to be filed can include the estate's income tax return (both federal and state), the federal estate-tax return, the state death tax return (estate and/or inheritance), and the deceased's final income tax return (federal and state). Taxes usually must be paid before other debts. In many instances, federal estate-tax returns are not needed as the size of the estate will be under the amount for which a federal estate-tax return is required.

         Often it is necessary to hire an appraiser to value certain assets of the estate, such as a business, pension, or real estate, since estate taxes are based on the "fair market" value of the assets. After the filing of the returns and payment of taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will generally send some type of estate closing letter accepting the return. Occasionally, the return will be audited.

         Distribute the Assets. After all debts and expenses have been paid, the distribute the assets with extra attention and meticulous bookkeeping by the executor. Frequently, beneficiaries can receive partial distributions of their inheritance without having to wait for the closing of the estate.
         Under increasingly complex laws and rulings, particularly with respect to taxes, in larger estates an executor can be in charge for two or three years before the estate administration is completed. If the job is to be done without unnecessary cost and without causing undue hardship and delay for the beneficiaries of the estate, the executor should have an understanding of the many problems involved and an organization created for settling estates.

CONCLUSION
New Jersey is considered a “probate friendly” state since the executors are not required to obtain court approvals for most actions. However, if the Executor is not complying with state law, in NJ the only recourse a beneficiary has is to file a complaint and Order to Show Cause.
        Planning can only be done while someone is competent and alive. Make sure your assets can be passed directly to your loved ones.

        Kenneth A.  Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on litigation topics. He has been selected to lecture to trial lawyers by the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.
More information at  www.njlaws.com
Call Kenneth Vercammen’s law office to schedule a confidential appointment
732-572-0500

  KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500

more information at http://www.njlaws.com/removing_the_executor_of_an_estate.html