May 25, 2011
IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF NANCY L. HERMANCE, DECEASED. WENDY HERMANCE, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
BRETT HERMANCE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division-Probate Part, Morris County, Docket No. P-0358-2006.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: May 18, 2011
Before Judges Cuff and Simonelli.
In this probate action, the daughter of decedent Nancy L. Hermance, Wendy Hermance, filed a verified complaint in which she alleged that the will and codicil executed by decedent was the product of undue influence by her brother, Brett Hermance.
Following a four-day trial, Judge Bozonelis found that the will and codicil were not the product of undue influence. He entered judgment dismissing the complaint and subsequently awarded attorneys' fees to the daughter. The award of attorneys' fees is the sole issue before this court.
Appellant Brett Hermance does not contend that an award of fees was not permissible. He contends that the application for fees must be filed no more than twenty days from the entry of the July 1, 2010 judgment and the August 30, 2010 motion for attorneys' fees filed by respondent Wendy Hermance was filed too late. Judge Bozonelis held that an application for fees may be filed within a reasonable time following entry of the judgment and the motion filed by Wendy Hermance was filed in a reasonable amount of time following entry of judgment.*fn1
We agree and affirm the September 16, 2010 order for payment of fees to respondent.