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Historic Estate in East Hanover is at the Center of a Development Dispute

When Catherine Froling passed away several years ago at the age of 88, her estate became the owner of her home and a separate piece of property that includes about four acres of land surrounding the home. The house is known as the Adoniram Pruden home and dates back to 1749. According to an article in the Daily Record, some preservation organizations are concerned that the house has fallen into disrepair as the children of Ms. Froling engage in litigation over the property.

The son, who is executing the estate, is seeking a zoning variance to develop the surrounding acres for senior housing units. But now the City of East Hanover is also interested in the land. East Hanover was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Morris County Open Space Trust Fund. The purpose of the grant is for the city to buy the surrounding acres so that they can be used for hiking and possibly a community garden.

The article in the Daily Record does not make clear what Catherine Froling's intentions for the property may have been. As one of the first female real-estate brokers in New Jersey, she may have been completely in support of responsible development of the land for senior housing units. It is just as likely though, that she would have wanted to maintain the grounds of the historic residence and allow the community to make use of the land.

While the property that most of us will leave to our loved ones does not include the grounds of a 260 year-old estate, it is still important that we plan ahead to ensure that our wishes are carried out. Careful and considerate estate planning can avoid situations where potential heirs feel a need to engage in a court battle over the property.

Source: Daily Record of Morris County, East Hanover, NJ, to decide fate of property surrounding home built in 1749 Jake Remaly, 11 Jan 2011

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