This litigation was occasioned by a quarrel among the children of Matthew Kuruc, deceased, over the disposition of his estate. Several complaints were filed. By consent they were consolidated for trial in this court.
The basic issues are: (1) whether an agreement between the parties, terminating litigation in which Matthew Kuruc was plaintiff, and William Kuruc defendant, was consummated; (2) whether a will of Matthew Kuruc, dated June
24, 1948, was the product of undue influence on the part of William Kuruc, and hence void; and (3) whether a lease dated June 26, 1947, given by Matthew Kuruc to William Kuruc, and covering premises at 188 Ackerman Avenue, Clifton, New Jersey, should be set aside.
Matthew Kuruc was a native of Czechoslovakia, who came to this country many years ago and settled in Clifton. His family consisted of his children, the plaintiffs Sophie K. Solotruk, wife of John Solotruck, Anna K. Huber, wife of Frank Huber, Andrew W. Kuruc, Mary Ann Puzio, wife of John Puzio, and the defendant William Kuruc. During his life in this country Matthew Kuruc gathered together a sizeable estate. It consisted of four parcels of real property and personal property of an undisclosed amount. The real property consisted of a house and lot at 195 Ackerman Avenue; a house and lot at 22 Loretta Street; a building with a store on the first floor and apartments above, at 188 Ackerman Avenue, and four vacant lots on Mount Prospect Avenue, all in the City of Clifton.
In 1942 Matthew Kuruc suffered a stroke. Although he recovered from that illness his condition thereafter was somewhat precarious and in the last year of his life his decline in health was rapid.
On December 9, 1943 Kuruc executed a will in which the property at 188 Ackerman Avenue was given to Mary Ann Puzio and William Kuruc. The contents of the store at that address were given to William Kuruc. 195 Ackerman Avenue was given to Anna Huber and Sophie Solotruk. 22 Loretta Street was devised to Andrew Kuruc, on condition that he pay $150 each to William Kuruc and Mary Ann Puzio. Two of the lots on Mount Prospect Avenue were devised to William and the other two to Andrew. All of the rest of his estate was bequeathed to his children equally. Andrew Kuruc was named as the executor.
On July 22, 1947 Kuruc executed a second will. In this document 188 Ackerman Avenue was devised to William Kuruc. Mary Ann Puzio, Anna Huber and Sophie Solotruk
received 195 Ackerman Avenue. Andrew received 22 Loretta Street, and the lots on Mount Prospect Avenue were divided equally between William and Andrew. It was also provided that William and Andrew should pay $100 each to Mary, Anna and Sophie. The residue was left to the children equally. William was named as executor.
On June 24, 1948 Kuruc executed his last will. Under its terms William received 188 Ackerman Avenue. William, Anna and Sophie were given 195 Ackerman Avenue. Andrew was given 22 Loretta Street. And the Mount Prospect Avenue lots were divided equally between William and Andrew. Mary Ann Puzio was left the sum of $10. The remainder of the estate was divided equally between his children. William was named as executor.
On April 26, 1950 Matthew Kuruc conveyed 195 Ackerman Avenue to Sophie Solotruk and Anna K. Huber. On the same day he conveyed 22 Loretta Street to Andrew Kuruc. The following day Andrew, Sophie and Anna executed an agreement in which it was provided that in consideration of the conveyance to them of the several properties they agreed to support Matthew Kuruc for the balance of his life and also agreed to turn over to him the rents from the properties conveyed.
Thereafter, on May 17, 1950, Matthew Kuruc conveyed to William Kuruc the property known as 188 Ackerman Avenue. William Kuruc did not sign the agreement to ...