NJUFL Shields Bank From Liability In Action to Set Aside Inter Vivos Gift

Estate of Sandor v. Lugowe, No. BER-C-54-21, 2021 WL 3162993 (N.J. Super. Ch. Div., Bergen Cty. July 12, 2021).

The decedent died on January 20, 2018, and the court appointed an administrator pendente lite of the estate (the “Administrator”).  The Administrator filed an action to set aside inter vivos gifts made by Decedent’s grand-nephew, Anthony Russo, Jr. (“Russo”), who was also Decedent’s agent under his power of attorney.  The Administrator joined in the litigation the bank at which Decedent kept most of his assets, asserting that it was likewise liable for the improper transfers.

The bank filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted.  Specifically, the court determined that:  (1) the New Jersey Uniform Fiduciaries Law, N.J.S.A. § 3B:14-52 et seq. shielded the bank from liability; (2) the power of attorney document waived liability against the bank; and (3) the only inference that could be drawn from the record was that the bank performed adequate due diligence and did not act in bad faith.