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In re Estate of Fedorov

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 24, 2013



Argued May 15, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Hudson County, Docket No. 303136.

Vic Fedorov, appellant, argued the cause pro se.

Ronald M. Fraioli argued the cause for respondents Mark and Veronica Savage (Fraioli & Moore, attorneys; Mr. Fraioli, on the brief).

Before Axelrad and Sapp-Peterson, Judges


Appellant Vic Fedorov's mother died testate, leaving him and his two siblings, defendants Veronica Savage and Mark Fedorov, her entire estate in three equal parts and designating Savage and Fedorov as co-executors.[1] She placed appellant's share, however, in a special needs trust with Fedorov as its trustee because of appellant's diagnosis of mental disabilities for which he is apparently receiving Social Security Disability. In June 2011, the self-proving will was probated in Hudson County in accordance with the decedent's expressed wishes in the will, as she purportedly viewed Hudson County as her residence. Letters testamentary were issued to Savage and Fedorov as co-executors.

Appellant forwarded a letter dated October 20, 2011 to the court asserting objections to the will and probate process, which the court accepted as a complaint. Defendants filed an answer and counterclaim. During a show cause proceeding, Judge Thomas Olivieri denied defendants' request to summarily dismiss the complaint as time-barred. He also denied appellant's request to remove his siblings as co-executors, memorialized in an order of February 10, 2012. Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by Judge Hector Velazquez following oral argument, by order of May 7, 2012.

Appellant then filed a motion for an order "invalidating proceedings and/or changing venue to Mercer County." Defendants responded with a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint, with a supporting certification of Savage, statement of material facts, and brief challenging appellant's allegations of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity. At oral argument on July 19, 2012, as an accommodation to appellant, the parties only argued the issue of change of venue. Judge Velazquez denied the motion, finding appellant had accepted the jurisdiction of Hudson County by participating in the probate action there for one year before challenging venue, which ruling was memorialized in an order of that date.

Following oral argument on August 10, 2012, Judge Velazquez granted summary judgment to defendants, finding, in part, that appellant presented nothing to support his claims of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity beyond his own bald, self-serving allegations. With regard to unrelated issues involving assets, the court suggested that appellant "send a letter to the estate attorney requesting an informal accounting." By order of that date, the court dismissed appellant's complaint.

Appellant then made a variety of applications. His notice of appeal and case information statement only list the August 10, 2012 order. However, because we are unable to ascertain from the record and appellant's submissions whether he also intended to include in this appeal the July 19, 2012 order denying his motion to change venue, we will afford appellant the benefit of the doubt and include that order. In addition to challenging the factual and legal bases for the two rulings, appellant made allegations in his brief and at oral argument before us of conspiracy and fraud involving defendants, Hudson County, and the judicial system. Appellant also seems to be making allegations regarding assets that are outside the scope of this case and appeal.

We reject appellant's arguments as without sufficient merit to warrant further discussion in an opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We affirm substantially for the reasons stated by Judge Velazquez in support of the rulings on both orders.


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