THE ESTATE OF JEFFREY APPELBLATT VS. ARLETTA ASATRIAN (C-000127-15, MORRIS COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)


NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3. SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION DOCKET NO. A-2970-16T4 THE ESTATE OF JEFFREY APPELBLATT (Deceased), by STEPHANIE REBECCA APPELBLATT, Executrix, Plaintiff-Respondent/ Cross-Appellant, and MAX J. APPELBLATT, BENJAMIN M. APPELBLATT, SARAH N. APPELBLATT, and JACOB W. APPELBLATT, Plaintiffs/Intervenors- Respondents/Cross-Appellants, v. ARLETTA ASATRIAN, Defendant-Appellant/ Cross-Respondent. __________________________________ Argued September 13, 2018 - Decided September 11, 2019 Before Judges Fuentes, Accurso and Moynihan. On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Morris County, Docket No. C-000127-15. Eric D. McCullough argued the cause for appellant/ cross-respondent (Waters, McPherson, McNeill, PC, attorneys; Eric D. McCullough, of counsel and on the briefs). Catherine L. Sakach argued the cause for respondents/ cross-appellants (Matteo Wisniewski, LLC, attorneys; Catherine L. Sakach, of counsel and on the brief). PER CURIAM This is a suit over the proceeds of a $750,000 life insurance policy. Defendant Arletta Asatrian appeals from a final judgment awarding her the proceeds of the policy less $329,238.20 the Probate Part judge found the decedent Jeffrey Appelblatt gifted her from funds wrongly diverted from marital assets belonging to him and his wife Stephanie Appelblatt, now the executrix of his estate. Plaintiffs, the Estate of Jeffrey Appelblatt and the Appelblatt's four children, as intervenors, appeal from the judgment awarding the proceeds of the policy to Asatrian. Because the estate has no right to funds Jeffrey gifted to Asatrian during his lifetime, we reverse the judgment in favor of the estate. We also reverse the judgment in favor of Asatrian based on Stephanie's changing the beneficiary on the policy from Asatrian to the Appelblatt children as Jeffrey's lawful attorney-in-fact after his incapacity. We remand to the trial court for A-2970-16T4 2 further proceedings as may be necessary to implement our decision and establish an appropriate support award for Asatrian and Jeffrey's daughter, four-years-old at the time of Jeffrey's death. Jeffrey and Stephanie Appelblatt married in 1993 and had four children. Jeffrey ran a successful business selling commercial cleaning supplies. Stephanie cared for the children and managed their home life. The couple together owned the commercial property housing Jeffrey's business through a limited liability company, SMBJ Realty, LLC, an acronym formed from the first initials of their children's names. In January 2014, after Jeffrey had begun to suffer what appeared to be neurological problems, he confessed to Stephanie that he had been seeing another woman for ten years, defendant Arletta Asatrian, and had a three-year- old daughter. Jeffrey and Stephanie's oldest child was then in her first year of college, their second child was concluding his senior year of high school and their sixteen-year-old twins were juniors in high school. Following his revelation, Jeffrey's health went into rapid decline and he was at some point diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob ...

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