September 12, 2018
appeal from the Tax Court of New Jersey, Docket No.
8198-2016, whose opinion is reported at 30 N.J.Tax 1 (Tax
J. Curry, Jr., argued the cause for appellant (James J.
Curry, Jr., attorney; James J. Curry, Jr. and Timothy J.
Petrin, on the briefs).
Heather L. Anderson, Deputy Attorney General, argued the
cause for respondent (Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General,
attorney; Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of
counsel; Heather L. Anderson, on the brief).
J. DeMaio argued the cause for amicus curiae New Jersey State
Bar Association (New Jersey State Bar Association, attorneys;
Robert B. Hille, of counsel; Andrew J. DeMaio, Glenn A.
Henkel, Jill Lebowitz, and Heather G. Suarez, on the brief).
C. Eastman argued the cause for amicus curiae New Jersey Land
Title Association (Davison, Eastman, Munoz, Lederman &
Paone, PA, attorneys; Michael J. Fasano, on the brief).
Judges Yannotti, Gilson and Natali.
Estate of Mary Van Riper (Estate) appeals from a judgment of
the Tax Court, which upheld an assessment by the Director of
the Division of Taxation (Division) of inheritance transfer
taxes and interest upon the Estate. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm.
relevant facts are not in dispute. On December 5, 2007,
Walter Van Riper and his wife Mary Van Riper (Van Ripers)
established an irrevocable trust to hold certain real and
personal property, subject to specified conditions. The real
property in question was the Van Ripers's marital home in
Sea Girt. Among other things, the trust instrument required
the trustee to provide a residence for the Van Ripers during
their lifetimes, and to pay all carrying charges for the
subject property, including but not limited to taxes,
insurance, and utility costs.
trust instrument also authorized the trustee to sell the
home, but required the trustee to use the funds realized from
the sale to provide shelter and housing to the Van Ripers.
The trust instrument recognized that Mary might require
custodial care, and stated that if such care could be
provided in a residential setting, the proceeds of the sale
of the home shall be used to acquire such other premises.
trust agreement further provided that upon the death of the
Van Ripers, the trustee shall distribute any assets remaining
in the trust to the Van Ripers's niece. On December 5,
2007, the Van Ripers transferred title to the marital
residence to the trust for $1.
died on December 24, 2007, and Mary died on December 23,
2013. During her lifetime, Mary remained in the home and
pursuant to the trust instrument, the home passed to the Van
Ripers's niece. On April 2, 2015, the Estate filed with
the Division a New Jersey resident decedent inheritance tax
return, and reported that no tax was due on the transfer of
Division audited the return and determined that $935, 000,
the full fair market value of the home at the time Mary died,
was part of her estate for inheritance transfer tax
purposes. Accordingly, the Division issued an
assessment imposing additional taxes and interest upon the
Estate. The Estate protested the assessment. On March 22,
2016, the Division issued a final determination, denying the
protest and upholding the assessment. The Estate paid the
2016, the Estate filed a complaint in the Tax Court, seeking
reversal of the Division's final determination and a
refund of the amounts paid. In October 2016, the Estate filed
a motion for summary judgment. The Division opposed the
motion, and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment.
Court denied the Estate's motion and granted the
Division's cross-motion, for reasons stated in a written
opinion filed on February 23, 2017. Estate of Van Riper
v. Dir., Div. of Taxation, 30 N.J.Tax 1 (Tax 2017). The
Estate appeals. We thereafter granted motions by the New
Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) and the New Jersey Land
Title Association (NJLTA) to participate in the appeal as
Jersey, an inheritance tax is imposed upon a transfer in the
amount of $500 or more of "real or tangible personal
property[, ] situated in this State[, ] . . . [that] is
transferred by will or by" New Jersey's intestate
laws, of a New Jersey resident "dying seized or
possessed thereof." N.J.S.A. 54:34- 1(a). The tax also
is imposed upon the transfer by will or intestate law of real
or tangible personal property of a decedent who is not a
resident of New Jersey at the time of death. N.J.S.A.
54:34-l(b). In addition, a tax is imposed on a transfer of
property by deed, grant, bargain, sale or gift that is made