On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Mercer County, Docket No. C-86-0141.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Payne and Hayden.
On December 11, 1987, an order was entered by Chancery Judge Paul Levy providing for the escheat to the State of funds constituting the estate of Carl Bekysewycz if no next-of-kin were discovered or came forward within three years of decedent's death, which had occurred on May 30, 1986. On April 18, 2008, Philip B. Papier, Jr., was appointed administrator of the Estate of Carl Bekysewycz, following an ex parte application to the Hunterdon County Surrogate. In this matter, Papier appeals from the April 16, 2010 order denying his motion, pursuant to Rules 4:49-2 and 4:50-1, to amend Judge Levy's 1987 order to provide for payment of the escheated funds either to the Administrator of Unclaimed Funds to hold for the benefit of the heirs of Carl Bekysewycz or directly to the estate of Carl Bekysewycz, deceased, Philip B. Papier, Jr. Administrator. We affirm.
As stated, Bekysewycz died intestate on May 30, 1986. On July 3, 1986, the State filed a verified complaint for escheat pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:37-1 (pertaining to real property) and N.J.S.A. 2A:37-12 (pertaining to personal property) in the Chancery Division, Mercer County. In the first count of that complaint, the State sought the appointment of a conservator to take possession of decedent's real and personal property, to provide notice by publication requiring any next-of-kin to come forward to lay claim to the estate and any unsatisfied creditor to file a claim with the conservator, and if no next-of-kin comes forward, to permit entry of a judgment escheating the property of decedent to the State. The second count recited:
Notice of the death of Carl Bekysewycz was given to the Attorney General by Robert Konopka, Esquire, an individual who knew of the State's role in this type of situation. Upon the receipt of notice, an impartial inquiry was initiated by a State Investigator. The initial phase of this investigation included an examination of the decedent's home, property, personal papers, and personal effects and interviews with individuals who had information concerning the decedent. No sufficient information about any next-of-kin developed through this process.
The count continued by stating that, as a consequence, the Attorney General made appropriate funeral and burial arrangements with the Hannon Brother's Funeral Home, and now sought payment of the funeral home's preferred claim against the estate for the costs incurred.
On July 3, 1986, Patricia Scott-Buzzi was appointed as conservator of all of the real and personal property of decedent, authorized to marshal the estate's assets and preserve and maintain his residence, and directed to give notice by publication in two successive weeks of decedent's death to any next-of-kin and creditors in the form approved by Judge Levy. The notice was printed in the Hunterdon County Democrat on July 17, 1986 and again in the following week. The notice commenced in the following manner:
NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT OF CONSERVATOR AND NOTICE TO CREDITORS ______________________________________
TO ANY NEXT-OF-KIN, HEIRS-AT-LAW, DEVISEES, OR LEGATEES OF Carl Bekysewycz, now deceased.
TO ANY OWNER OR BENEFICIAL OWNER OF, or person entitled to, the real and personal property of Carl ...