Justia Trusts & Estates Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in New Jersey Supreme Court
In this appeal, the issue before the Supreme Court centered on whether a change in the federal estate tax law after an alleged wrongful death could give rise to a viable claim under the Wrongful Death Act. The Appellate Division concluded that the estate tax losses alleged by plaintiffs would not compel the factfinder to engage in speculation. It held that by the time the trial court ruled on the motion for reconsideration, the estate tax laws for 2011 and 2012 had been established, and a jury guided by expert testimony would have been in a position to calculate damages. The panel accordingly reinstated plaintiffs’ claims for estate tax losses as the measure of damages asserted as an element of their wrongful death claim. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the Wrongful Death Act did not authorize claims for damages based on estate taxes paid by a decedent’s estate because such claims do not fit within the statutory cause of action defined by N.J.S.A. 2A:31-1 and the alleged damages do not constitute "pecuniary" losses as required by N.J.S.A. 2A:31-5. View "Beim v. Hulfish" on Justia Law