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Sunday, January 29, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF ARTHUR E. BROWN A-1086-14T4

 IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF ARTHUR E. BROWN 
A-1086-14T4 
In this appeal, the decedent was institutionalized in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. His wife, who predeceased him, had disinherited him, and he did not claim his one-third elective share of her augmented estate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 3B:8-1. We affirmed the trial court's denial of entry of judgment discharging a priority lien the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services filed against the decedent's estate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4D-7.8 for reimbursement of Medicaid benefits the decedent received during his lifetime. We also affirmed the court's calculation of the decedent's elective share. 
We determined that the decedent was entitled to an elective share of his deceased wife's augmented estate that included the proceeds from the sale of the couple's former marital home, which had been transferred to the wife as sole owner prior to the decedent's admission into the nursing home. We rejected appellant's argument that N.J.S.A. 3B:8-1 did not apply to the decedent because he and his wife had been living separate and apart at the time of her death, and the couple ceased to cohabit as man and wife under circumstances that gave the wife a cause of action for divorce under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(d) or (f). We also rejected appellant's argument that the decedent's estate had no right to an elective share because that right was personal to him and could only be exercised during his lifetime as per N.J.S.A. 3B:8-11. 
We rejected appellant's alternative argument that the decedent's elective share was zero because the proceeds from the 

sale of the former marital home were excluded from the wife's augmented estate under N.J.S.A. 3B:8-5. Lastly, we rejected appellant's argument that the value of some of the decedent's assets should be deducted from his elective share.