Delaware is Not the Appropriate Forum to Resolve Beneficiaries’ Dispute Over Disposition of New Jersey Burial Plots

Delaware Fiduciary Litigation Blog

Posted December 17, 2013

Estate of Ralph A. Gallegan, C.A. No. 8552-MA (December 16, 2013)

The successor administrator of decedent’s estate filed a petition for instructions. The decedent owned burial plots in New Jersey and the seven beneficiaries could not agree on the disposition of the unoccupied plots. In her final report, Master Ayvazian recommended that the petition be dismissed without prejudice so that the successor administrator could seek instructions in the appropriate New Jersey Probate Court through an ancillary administration. The Master reached this result after finding that under New Jersey law title to real property vests in the heir or devisee automatically upon death of the owner, while possession and management vests in the administrator. That possession and management is subject to the supervision of New Jersey courts. As such, the Master concluded that the distribution of the burial plots was a question for the New Jersey courts.


William M. Kelleher, Director
Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A.