August 26, 2011
IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF PETER BULHACK, DECEASED.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part, Union County, Docket No. M-6450.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued January 5, 2011
Remanded April 14, 2011
Resubmitted August 18, 2011
Before Judges R. B. Coleman and Lihotz.
Following our initial review of this matter, challenging the legitimacy of claims by decedent's putative paternal heirs, we remanded the matter to the trial court for the entry of additional limited factual findings regarding the documentary evidence submitted. Specifically, powers of attorney were filed by the Belarus plaintiffs, which the trial court was directed to verify the asserted self-proving character of the submissions and determine whether the documentary evidence proved claimants survived decedent.
We have received Judge Malone's opinion on remand dated May 13, 2011. The trial court reviewed the documents presented in the litigation by all heirs, paternal and maternal, to discern whether they survived decedent. Judge Malone concluded all eight plaintiffs had "provided copies of powers of attorney that were written in Russian with an English translation and signed by the individual granting the power [of attorney] to Richard A. Blake with respect to their claims as heirs to the Estate of Peter Bulhack." Judge Malone identified that the eight documents "contained an apostille and various seals to authenticate the document" and found these documents to be self-proving, "obviating the need for a final certification based on the contents of the documents[.]" Further, based on the dates of execution of the powers of attorney, the court found that each plaintiff survived decedent.
Based on these uncontroverted factual findings, we conclude the record is complete and the trial court's determination as to the legitimacy of the Belarus plaintiffs' claims as well as the ordered division of the estate shall not be disturbed.
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