IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF OLGA FERRETTI, DECEASED.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 25, 2013.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part, Monmouth County, Docket No. P-327-11.
Elaine Vescovi, appellant pro se.
Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, attorneys for respondent Mary Jean Bohn, Executrix of the Estate of Olga Ferretti (Robert J. Feinberg, of counsel and on the brief; Matthew N. Fiorovanti, on the brief).
Before Judges Graves and Guadagno.
Plaintiff Elaine Vescovi, niece of decedent Olga Ferretti, appeals from a January 27, 2012 order denying her motion to invalidate the Last Will and Testament of decedent. A judgment entered the same day dismissed her complaint with prejudice and declared the Last Will and Testament valid and enforceable. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Decedent was born October 17, 1922, and died testate on February 3, 2010. She never married, had no children, and was survived by three sisters: Rose Martz, Lucy Cox, and Esther Yurth. Decedent was predeceased by two additional sisters, Anne Roche and Mary Vescovi, mother of plaintiff. In addition to plaintiff, decedent had fifteen nieces and nephews.
On May 9, 2003, decedent executed a Last Will and Testament (the 2003 Will). The 2003 Will bequeathed the following: $50, 000 to Catholic Charities; $50, 000 to Catholic Relief Services; $5000 to St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church; $5000 to St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church; and $5000 each to plaintiff, Joanne Gnanasiri, Bernard Vescovi, Diane Vescovi, and Peter Vescovi (the five children of Mary Vescovi). The "rest, residue, and remainder" of decedent's estate was left to her then surviving sisters, Rose Martz, Lucy Cox, Esther Yurth, and Anne Roche, in equal shares; and her home located in Sea Girt was left to her sisters "to utilize and enjoy . . . with other members of [her] family." Decedent named Mary Jean Bohn, daughter of Lucy Cox, as executrix.
On October 21, 2005, decedent executed another Last Will and Testament (the 2005 Will), thereby revoking the 2003 Will. The 2005 Will stated:
All of my property of whatever nature and kind, wherever so situated shall be distributed to the Olga Ferretti Revocable Trust, dated October 21, 2005, naming Olga Ferretti, Rose Ferretti Martz and Bank of America as initial co-trustees thereunder. I direct my executor, hereinafter named, to consult with the co-trustees of my Revocable Trust to determine whether any expense or tax shall be paid from my trust or my probate estate.
. . I nominate, constitute and appoint Mary Jean Bohn, Executrix of this my Last Will and Testament and if she should predecease me or for any reason whatsoever not be appointed as such, resigns or becomes unable to act, then I nominate, constitute and appoint Lucy Bohn Execut[rix] in her place and stead. . . .
I grant unto my said Executor or Executrix the following powers respecting my estate in addition to any powers granted by the State of New Jersey: full power and authority to sell, mortgage, lease, assign, exchange and otherwise to convey and encumber any and all of my real and personal property, at such prices and upon such terms as to him or her shall seem reasonable and proper, and my Executor or Executrix may at his or her discretion, retain any securities, real property, or other investments and continue to hold, manage and operate any property, business or enterprise that I may own in whole or in part at the time of my death, with or without order of court, the profits and losses therefrom, if any, to insure to and be chargeable against my estate and not my Executor or Executrix.
The Olga Ferretti Revocable Trust (the 2005 Trust), executed the same day, provided that upon the death of decedent, the co-trustees would divide the remaining trust estate into four equal shares to decedent's then surviving sisters, Rose Martz, Lucy Cox, Esther Yurth, and Anne Roche. The 2005 Trust provided that if any sister predeceased ...